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  • Jeff Chacon

If he were only a man

If he were only a man…


we could disagree with him,

have a different opinion,

and cling to our own reasoning over his.


If he were only a man…


we could choose instead to believe the experts of our day,

the professors of our Universities,

and the opinion polls of our pollsters.


If he were only a man…


we could choose to follow our feelings,

our own experiences,

and the truth of our own making.


If he were only a man…


we could put him in the same box with

Buddha,

Mohammad

and Confucius…


or the box of

Socrates,

Plato

and Aristotle…


or the box of

Ghandi,

Martin Luther King, Jr.,

and Mother Theresa…


If he were only a man…


we could pick and choose

which of his teachings we want to follow, and which of them we don’t;

which of his perspectives are relevant today, and which of them are outdated;

which of his commands we wish to obey, and which we choose to ignore.


Ah, if he were only a man…


But the Bible does not give us that option.


Because he’s not only a man…

he’s the eternal Son of God.


So, Jesus’ words are God’s words – not man’s.

His perspective is God’s perspective – not man’s.

His commands are God’s commands – not man’s.


This is how the book of Hebrews starts – by making sure we understand that Jesus was more than just another man.


I see nine statements about Jesus’ divinity in the first four verses of the book:


“In the past God spoke to our ancestors 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 also 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.” (Hebrews 1:1-4, NIV)


Let’s quickly identify the nine ways this passage seeks to elevate Jesus Christ above any man or angel from the very beginning – so we understand the significance of who we’re talking about in the rest of the book:


1) “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” (vs. 1-2a)


Yes, Moses and the rest of the prophets were great men, but Jesus was more than just a great man – he was “the one and only Son, who is himself God” (John 1:18).


2) “…whom he appointed heir of all things…” (vs. 2b)


Everything belongs to Jesus. From the gnats to the stars, Jesus owns it all. It’s all his.


Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me…” (Matthew 28:18a). He’s the owner; he calls the shots; he can do whatever he wants with the entire creation – including us.


3) “and through whom also he made the universe.” (vs. 2c)


God created the universe through Jesus. It was Jesus who got it done. Referring to Jesus, John tells us, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)


There’s a reason Genesis 1:26 uses plural pronouns for God in this passage of creation: “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…”


When we’re dealing with Jesus, we’re dealing with the triune God who created us.

4) “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory…” (vs. 3a)


Like the rays of the sun, Jesus emanates God’s glory to us.


One commentator makes this comparison: “We have never seen the sun, only the rays of its light as they come to us. Even so, we have never seen God the Father, but we see him through the ‘rays’ of the Son of God.” (David Guzik)


5) “…and the exact representation of his being…” (vs. 3b)


Jesus is not kinda, sorta like God. Jesus is “the exact representation of his being”.


The original Greek language carries the idea of a “figure stamped, that is, an exact copy” (Strong’s Dictionary of Bible Words”). Or today, we might say, “Jesus is the photograph or picture of God.” “The Son is the image of the invisible God...” (Colossians 1:15)


What’s the best way to see God? Look at Jesus – he’s “the exact representation of his being” (vs. 3b).


6) “…sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (vs. 3c)


The Greek word here for “sustaining” has the idea of actively maintaining.


So, Jesus literally holds the universe together. It would all fall apart if he did not actively maintain it. He is the glue. He’s not just the center of the universe – he literally holds it all together by his ongoing will. “…in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)


7) “After he had provided purification for sins… (vs. 3d)


The book of Hebrews will go on to show that no animal sacrifice or human achievement could purify our sins for us – only the perfect life of the lamb of God – Jesus Christ.


As Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18) That’s why only Jesus was suited to be the sacrifice for our sins – because he alone is truly “good” (sinless) and didn’t have to pay for his own sins. Therefore, he could take the penalty for ours.


8) “…he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (vs. 3e)


“This is a position of majesty, of honor, of glory, and of finished work. This position of Jesus sets him far above all creation.” (David Guzik)


9) “So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” (vs. 4)


Jesus was eternally superior to the angels, but he also “became” superior to them “in the sense that he was made perfect (complete as our redeemer) through his sufferings (Hebrews 2:10) – something no angel ever did.” (David Guzik)


Application


We live in “the information age” – when there are so many different “facts”, opinions, and perspectives coming at us that we don’t know who to trust.


It’s confusing, overwhelming and disheartening.


Don’t confuse Jesus with those other voices. His is not simply another opinion.


Jesus stands head and shoulders above the crowd – because he made the crowd.


Jesus towers above all the great thinkers of history – because he made the mind.


Jesus speaks only truth – because he is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).


If he were only a man… we wouldn’t have to obey him – but neither could we trust him.


Praise God, Jesus is not only a man!

He is God in the flesh.


And that makes all the difference.

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