The Incomparable Christ Hebrews 1:1-4
Part One Dec. 21, 2014
Pastor Louis Prontnicki Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church
Intro: Birthdays! – When you are a child, birthdays are usually exciting, as you think about presents, or that by a certain birthday, you can vote, or you can legally drive, or drink, but not at the same time! But as the years go by, many people don’t want to celebrate their birthday, mostly because it reminds them of how old they are.
How about Jesus’ birthday, Christmas? Some of you enjoy the holiday, while others of you dread it. But let me ask you this: are you filled with joy and awe and worship when you think about Christmas? That is, does this reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ make you smile and be amazed?
I think the problem goes beyond the commercialism and the busyness of the season. I think it goes far beyond whether we say “happy holidays” or “Merry Christmas.” I submit to you that the root cause is that we have lost sight of the incomparable glory of God’s Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been living in a fog, under the rain clouds, for too long, and we need to get “above the clouds” and gaze upon the Son of glory, the Son of Righteousness, and let His countenance brighten up our souls and hearts!
How should we do that? One way is by spending time meditating in Hebrews 1:1-4, Today, on Christmas Eve, and the following two Sundays, Lord willing:
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.”
Today I want us to focus on v. 2 “but in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.”
1. Jesus Christ is Incomparable as God’s Revelation of All That He Is.
“…in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…”
In times past young people sometimes had “pen pals” and these were other boys or girls that sometimes lived in another country. You would exchange letters, and then pictures; perhaps you might even talk on the phone with your pen pal. But then came a day when you might be able to meet your pen pal in person, and spend a few days with him or her, and then you really got to know that person.
It’s like that with God’s revelation of Himself to us. For centuries God revealed who He was through His prophets; people such as Moses and Isaiah and Malachi: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways” Through the prophets God used narrative and didactic passages; and He used poems and parables and proverbs to reveal what He was like to us.
But then one day He revealed Himself and His nature in a much more dynamic and living way: He came to us in person! He came to us in the flesh! Think about that: The almighty, holy God, the creator of the universe, became one of the creatures!
The OT prophets had described God’s glory; they had portrayed God’s power; they had expounded God’s nature; but when God’s Son, Jesus Christ, was born on earth, He radiated the Father’s glory! He exuded the Father’s power! He personally demonstrated the Father’s nature!
When the Son of God was born a man, as Jesus of Nazareth, we began to get a glimpse of all that God is. “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate deity”
Let me put it another way. As we have been studying the parables of Jesus in our Sunday school class, we have seen the recurring pattern of a great man (a king, a master, or a wealthy landowner) who cares about those below him and even serves them!
(1) A master who serves his servants by bringing them food, by himself.
(2) A wealthy landowner who personally cares about the welfare of people who are without work and unable to feed their families.
(3) A distinguished father who uncharacteristically runs to meet his wayward son, coming back;
(4) A vineyard owner who, after sending his servants to his rebellious tenants, sends his own son, his heir, and they kill him!
In every case, where you would expect the rich king/ owner to just send his servants…. instead, we see that the exalted one goes himself, or that he sends his own son! This is unheard of in that culture… and ours as well! All of these parables are pictures of God, coming to us, Himself, in His Son!
There is no other religion that can compare to this. There is no other world-view where a powerful king makes himself so vulnerable and cares so much about his subjects. That’s why we believe and proclaim that Jesus Christ is incomparable as God’s revelation of all that the Father is. You cannot compare Jesus to anyone else in this. His becoming a man to reveal God to us is unrivaled, unparalleled, unmatched, unequaled, and unique. That’s one reason why you should stand in awe of the birth of God’s Son as a man.
Before we move on to another reason, allow me to make one application.
How many of you would like to hear God speaking to you about a matter of guidance or encouragement? How many of you have said to the Lord, “Would you please speak to me and let me know that you are there, and that you care about me? Would you speak to me about what I am supposed to do right now?”
Well, the good news of Christmas for you is that God is not silent. The God of the Bible is One who speaks to us, that we might know him and love him and live in joyful obedience to him. Hallelujah! God has spoken to us though His Own Son!
In Christ, God has spoken to us decisively, finally, ultimately, dramatically, personally, and perfectly! No further prophets could be possible. Therefore… we must listen to Him! We must believe that in God’s sending of His Son, we have been given a full-bodied, robust, and powerful revelation of everything we need for life and godliness. There are no more instructions booklets to be looked for. There are no more messengers of God still to come. No. For in Christ the fullness of who God is, and what he wants us to know and do, here on earth, is complete and final.
But there’s another reason why you should stand in awe of the birth of God’s Son as a man.
2. Jesus is Incomparable as God’s Heir of All Things, and as God’s Agent of All Creation.
v. 2b “…whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”
Imagine that in the days leading up to Christmas, a father promises his children that on Christmas morning, they are going to get every present they that they could find on Amazon.com, along with every gift in Toys R Us. So the boys and girls spend hours on the company websites, checking off thousands of toys and electronic devices, and they talk constantly about each item and how excited they are, as they await Christmas morning.
But as the dates in December count down to Dec. 25th, the kids are getting nervous, because UPS is making any deliveries to their house, and there’s no presents under the tree, and they even seek into the places where mom and dad hide presents, and there’s nothing there either. But then on Christmas morning, as they come down the stairs, their eyes bug out as they behold that the whole downstairs if full of gifts! Gifts are overflowing into the living room, the family room, the kitchen.., even the two-car garage is full of presents!
How did that father pull that off? How could he have all the money to buy all those gifts, and how could he have them all delivered on Dec. 24th, while their kids were sleeping?
Simple. The father was Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com, who is worth $35 billion, and as the creator of Amazon, he can snap his fingers and have anything delivered to his house anytime.
My friends, the wealth and power of Jeff Bezos is a drop in the bucket compared to the incomparable wealth, power, and authority of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Notice that God the Father appointed His Son as heir of all things, and that God the Father also made His Son to be the agent in the creation of all things! That means that Christ is incomparable because all things in creation belong to Him in two ways: once because He created them, and again because he earned them back.
“What the Son was to inherit, He already had been instrumental in making!” Therefore:
The Son existed before He came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth;
The Son already owned the universe by virtue of creating it with the Father.
How then is he “appointed” heir of all things? The answer is that, for now, much of his creation is in rebellion against him; and God has ordained that, because of the Son’s faithful obedience and His death and resurrection, these enemies will one day be subdued, and all creation will bow down and acknowledge that they are ruled and owned by Jesus Christ.
In other words Christ not only has the right be the heir of all things because he made all things, but also because he defeated his enemies and purchased a lost people from sin and death through his death.
So we have double reason to give heed to the Son of God who is heir of all things: he is heir in one sense because he made all things; and he is appointed heir in another sense because he died and rose again to redeem for himself a people and to destroy sin and death and Satan and everything that could make his people miserable.
Now, back to the Amazon.com analogy: Jeff Bezos could tell his children to claim anything that wanted, and he knew He could make good on his promise, because he had the power and authority to pull it off. In a much greater way, Jesus, the Son of God, can make good on all that He has promised you. Why? Because He is the heir of all things. In the end he will have at his disposal all things. He will have all things in subjection to him.
As John Piper has said, it means that Jesus can make good on all his promises. If he says, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5), then he can make good on that promise, because he will own the earth and have it under his control. If he says, “Nothing in all creation will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:39), then he can make good on that promise because he will own all creation and have it under his control. If he says, “There shall no longer be death or mourning or crying or pain any more” (Revelation 21:1), he can make good on that promise because he will own life and death and rule unhindered over all that causes pain and crying.
Jesus Christ can make good on his word because He is God’s Son, because He is the Creator, and because He is the Triumphant Heir over all evil and misery. This is a better word than anything the prophets ever spoke in many ways in the Old Testament.
So…does all that fill you with joy and with awe, as you think about who Christ is, and how incomparable He is? Let’s celebrate His birth with our worship and with our presenting ourselves to Him, as a sacrifice of praise.