In order understand what following Jesus is all about, we must understand who He is and what He has accomplished for our salvation. The One through all things were made took on flesh in order to reconcile us to God. He is fully man and fully God. In this sermon from Hebrews 1:1–4, David Platt expounds on the glorious person and work of Christ.
The Life of Christ
Lord Jesus, you are a wonderful, merciful Savior, and our hearts hunger for you. We know that your glory is infinite, and so we want to experience more and more and more and more and more of it. Our hearts long for more, more and more of your glory, because we know it never ends. We praise you for healing our hearts and for meeting us where we are in all of your glory. We pray that as we sung about your glory and crowning you with many crowns, as we prepare to open your Word and to study about your glory, that your Spirit would grip our hearts with the wonder and mercy that you bring as our Savior. In Jesus’ name we pray,
If you have a Bible, and I hope you do, let me invite you to open with me to Hebrews 1. Hebrews 1 is near the end of the New Testament there. Feel free to use your Table of Contents if you need to, but find Hebrews 1. Today, we are going to begin a week-long journey together looking at what it means for Jesus to be Lord. We live in a day when it’s common for people to talk about making Jesus Lord of their lives. People will say, “When I was however many years old”, or “was this point of my life, I decided to make Jesus Lord of my life.” People talk about, “Well, there was a day when I trusted in Jesus as Savior and then another time of my life when I trusted in Jesus as Lord.” And then, there are many who will even teach today that Jesus can be your Savior, and you not yet submit to Him as Lord. It’s blasphemy. It is impossible to separate salvation of Christ from the Lordship of Christ. If He is not Lord, He cannot be our Savior. What qualifies Him to be Savior is the fact that He is Lord.
I’m convinced that if the authors of Scripture were to hear us talking like this, they would be amazed at the idea that we think whether or not Jesus is Lord is actually up to us. It’s not up to us. It’s a glorious eternal reality. The question is not, “Have we made Jesus Lord?”. The question is, “Have we submitted our lives to His Lordship?”.
Lord Over All…
And so, over the next week, this Holy Week, I want us to look at the Lordship of Christ from three different angles, so to speak. Today, on this Palm Sunday, we’re going to look at Lordship in the life of Christ. We’re going to look today at who Christ is and some of what Christ does, but really set the stage and the magnitude of the person of Christ for what we will see next weekend. Starting on Good Friday, Secret Church, we’re going to look at Lordship and the death of Christ. For those of you who will be a part of Secret Church Friday night from 6:00 to midnight, Lordship and the death of Christ, as we look at the significance of the cross and how the cross points us to the authority of Christ. And then, of course, next Sunday, Easter Sunday, we’re going to look at Lordship in the resurrection of Christ, and we’re going to see the implications of the fact that Jesus is risen from the grave. What does that mean for our lives and for all of history? So, that’s where we’re going.
Lordship in the Life of Christ…
Today, we’re going to a camp out on Lordship in the life of Christ. And baseball season is about to start, so we’re going to look at Hebrews 1:1-5, and this is going to be home plate for us today. And we’re going to start at home plate and then we’re going to go running all over the field, okay? We’re going to be all over the New Testament. We’re not going to go, really, even word for word from verse 1 to verse 4 in this passage. What we’re going to do is look at three primary themes that I think are supported structurally, even, by this passage that we’re going to look at, and we’re going to let that lead us into an exploration all over Scripture. Many places, we won’t have time to turn to. I’ll try to emphasize those so you can write some verses, passages down and maybe meditate on and reflect on those this week, and then a couple places, we will have the opportunity to turn to.
Hebrews 1:1-4. We’re going to read this. And we don’t see this in the English here, but in the original language of the New Testament, this is one sentence; Hebrews 1:1-4 is one sentence. So, just imagine this mouthful right here. As we read it, just picture it like it’s just one sentence that just keeps going and going and going. Listen to what the author of Hebrews writes:
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 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. 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. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
As prophet, Jesus reveals God to man.
That is a loaded sentence. I want to show you three offices of Christ, pictures of Christ that radically affect how we understand who Christ is, and particularly, how we understand what Christ did during Holy Week. First, the first office/picture here in Hebrews 1 and in the New Testament: As prophet, Jesus reveals God to man; Jesus is a prophet who reveals God to man. Now, this is set up in the beginning here of Hebrews 1:1, “In the past God spoke…”
that’s the subject and verb. God spoke, God communicated, God revealed; God has not left us alone on our own to figure out who He is. We don’t have to guess at who God is, we don’t have to try to define who God is; God has made it clear who He is. He’s spoken to us. He has communicated to us. And the first verse there sums up how God has spoken in the past, and how God is speaking now. There’s a contrast here; it’s a progression. God has spoken in the past in these ways, and that has led to how He is speaking now.
And the picture is that of a prophet. Prophets throughout the Old Testament were people who spoke for God, who revealed the words of God, who would come on the scene, and they would say, “Thus saith the Lord…” and they would speak what God has said. They were the mouthpieces of God, revealing God.
Now, hold your place here in Hebrews 1 and turn with me to Acts 3. Go with me to Acts 3. I want you to see just one instance where Jesus is shown, demonstrated to be a prophet. There are different places where we can see this. Now, we have to be very careful, too, because we’re going to see some limitations. There are some people who believe Jesus is a prophet but don’t believe He is Lord, and so we’re going to see some limitations. This is not all He is, but look at Acts 3:17. This is Peter, the second time we really see him preaching Christ, and he’s speaking to Jewish people who are familiar with the Old Testament. Listen to what he says. He’s confronting them on the fact that they crucified Jesus. He says in verse 17, “Brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets…” Keep that phrase in mind.
“…God fulfilled all that he had foretold through the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then,” he says, “and turn to God, so your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:18-21)
Now, listen to verse 22 and 23, “For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'”
Now, what Peter does there is he reaches back in the Old Testament, and he quotes from the Old Testament. What book does he quote from there in the Old Testament? What book is he quoting from? He is quoting from Deuteronomy. For all the Bible scholars who have a little note in their Bible that send them to the bottom, it’s that easy, all right? In Deuteronomy 18:15-19, what you’ve got is this picture of Moses. Moses is a prophet. And Moses is saying, “There’s going to be a prophet who’s going to come like me. You had better listen to that prophet because He is the one who determines all of eternity. How you respond to that prophet will affect you for all of eternity. Don’t turn a deaf ear to that prophet.”
Now, here’s the picture. All kinds of prophets were speaking throughout the Old Testament, and this is where the contrast comes in. Follow this in a few different ways. First of all, Jesus is the ultimate communication from God; He’s the ultimate communication from God. He is the revelation of God, prophet. Remember in John 1 when John starts his introduction of Jesus and said, “In the beginning was—what?—the Word.” (John 1:1)
It’s really interesting. Oftentimes, when we lead people to Christ, people say, “Well, you should recommend them to read the book of John. Start with the book of John because it’s simple.” This has got to be the most unsimple introduction to Jesus. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In the beginning there was God, and for Him and by Him, all things were made through the Word.” And the new believer is thinking, “Okay, what does that mean?”
This is the picture, though. Why did John say this? “In the beginning was the…”? Why not, “In the beginning was the Son of God?” Why not, “In the beginning was the light”, or, “the life” or “the way” or “the truth”? Instead, “In the beginning was the Word…” In the beginning, revelation. In the beginning, God was revealing Himself. And that’s the picture: Jesus is the ultimate communication from God.
Now, notice the contrast here. In the past, God spoke through many avenues of communication; many avenues of communication. When you come back to Hebrews 1, it says, “God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways…” (Hebrews 1:1) The language of the New Testament is really unique here stylistically. We won’t get into the Greek, but it’s basically the author saying all kinds of ways God spoke in the Old Testament. You think about it; you think about it. Hold your place here and just kind of keep something in Hebrews 1, because we’re going to keep coming back to home plate here. But go with me to Numbers 22. You think about it: God spoke in all kinds of ways in the Old Testament through all kinds of different means. I mean, He spoke to Moses in a burning bush. Anybody talk to a bush recently, like one that talked back to you? It’s an incredible picture of God speaking in a burning bush. He spoke in a still, small voice to Elijah. God speaks to Isaiah in a vision in the temple. All kinds of different ways and different means, avenues that God is using to communicate.
Listen to this one in Numbers 22:21. Picture this:
Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing on the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road.
Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD this time, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again.
Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no room to turn either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam. And he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” (Numbers 22:21-28)
What do you do when a donkey talks to you? You talk back. “Balaam answered the donkey, ‘You have made a fool of me!’” (Numbers 22:29) Is that not a great quote? Like, you have a guy talking to a donkey, saying, “You’ve made a fool of me.” So Balaam tells the donkey, “‘If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.’ The donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden to this day?’” (Numbers 22:29-30) This is funny. The donkey is pleading. “’Am I not your own donkey, which you have ridden to this day? Have I not been the habit of doing this to you?’ ‘No,’ he said. Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low.” (Numbers 22:30-31) That’s a great picture.
Like, whenever I start thinking how I live myself, because I get to preach and speak for God, it’s this picture that reminds me that God could use a donkey to do what I do every single week. Why are you clapping? This is not something to clap about. So, it’s like finally he realizes, like, “Oh, wow.”
This is the picture. This is God speaking throughout the Old Testament in many different ways, by many different means and many different avenues. And the consistent thing, particularly when it comes to the prophets, not so much the donkeys, but when it comes to the prophets, the consistent picture is there are many avenues of communication, and the revelation involved promises foretold. Prophets who were speaking for God were always looking forward, foretelling promises. Come back to Hebrews with me. You’re going to get your money’s worth turning some this morning. Go to Hebrews 11. I want you to hear how the author of Hebrews brings this to light. Hebrews 11, look at verse 13. He’s talking about people, men and women, who’ve walked by faith with God, Abraham, Moses and others and listen to what it says about them.
Hebrews 11:13, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” These men and women who walked with God, those who spoke for God, didn’t receive the things they promised, they welcomed them from a distance. They were looking forward. What were they looking forward to? What were Abraham and Moses looking forward to?
Well, look over in verse 24, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” Listen to verse 26: “Moses regarded disgrace for the sake of…” Who? “…for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Moses was looking ahead to his reward, and who was the reward? Christ. Moses, the prophet, looking forward to Christ.
You don’t have to turn there, but even a few pages to the right, you come to 1 Peter 1:10, and Peter says, “The prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” I wish we had time to see this, just to dive into the Old Testament and do a quick overview of Micah showing us where Christ would be born, and Daniel telling us when Christ would be born. Isaiah telling us what Christ would be called. Malachi telling us who would come before Christ. This is the picture we see in prophets: Images, types all throughout the Old Testament, all pointing us to Christ, avenues of communication foretelling promises that are represented.
Now, here’s the contrast. In the past, God spoke in many different ways, through many avenues of communication. Now, He’s speaking in Christ. Not many avenues of communication, but one agent of communication. It’s what Hebrews 1 says: “In the past God spoke many times and in various ways. Now, in the last days, He has spoken to us one way: by His Son.” That word “His”, the possessive pronoun there, is not even there in the original language of the New Testament. It kind of helps the flow as we read this. But the picture is showing the unilateral picture of the revelation of God. It is all focused in the Son. He is the ultimate communication from God, and He’s not foretelling promises to come; He is fulfilling all promises. It’s not promises foretold; in Christ, it’s promises fulfilled.
Write this down, 2 Corinthians 1:20. It says, “No matter how many promises God has made, they are all ‘Yes’ in Christ.” Christ is the promise. He is the fulfillment. He’s not part of the revelation of God. He’s not a section of revelation from God. He is the revelation of God. And we see that, even in the middle of Hebrews 1:1-4 in verse 3. The author starts talking about, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…”
So, here’s the deal: The Son is the ultimate communication from God, and the Son is the exact representation of God; the exact representation of God. Now, obviously, that defines who Jesus is in His substance, but it’s even greater. This is a picture of the fact that we have in Christ the full, final, definitive, authoritative revelation of God, the exact representation of God, the radiance of the glory of God.
That image, it’s a picture. If you were to go outside on a sunny day and to look up into the sun, which you shouldn’t do, but if you were to…now, I feel bad even saying that. I remember when I was in elementary school, and there was a total eclipse outside, and we were about to go outside and play on the playground. And the teacher brought us altogether and said, “Okay, we’re going to go outside. Whatever you do, do not stare at the sun.” I didn’t have any plans when we were walking out to gaze up and fix my eyes on the megastar in the sky. But now that she mentioned it, it’s more like an invitation. So, you know, all of us are outside kind of playing, like, “Did you do it?” “Okay, let’s all do it.” It’s just this picture. So, I hesitate to say it. Kids, don’t look at the sun; it’s not good.
Anyway, if you were to look at the sun, look at a bright light, you would not be able to distinguish the sun from the light that is radiating from the sun. The same way if you were to stare into a light bulb, you would not be able to distinguish the radiance flowing from that light bulb and the light bulb itself. That’s the picture of the radiance of the glory of God. You want to see the glory of God? You want to see the glory of God and live, which is even better? Then look on the face of Christ. He is the exact representation of His being.
This is all over the New Testament. Colossians 1:15, “He is the image of the invisible God…” Colossians 2:9, “In the Son, all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” It’s the picture in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we have beheld his glory, the glory of the one and only…” Verse 18, the same chapter, talks about how no one has seen the glory of God. “No one has seen God, but the one and only Son, is at the Father’s side, is making him known.” (John 1:18) John 14:9, “Jesus answered, ‘He who has seen me has seen…'” Who? “…the Father. If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 talks about how the glory of God is revealed in the face of Christ. This is the picture: We have in Christ the fullness of the glory of God on display.
Now, back to the question: How is that possible? How can the fullness of deity dwell in bodily form? How can a man reflect the full revelation of God? And this is where we get into the mystery of the Trinity. You’ve got in your notes there three truths. This is going to be Trinity in two minutes or less. Three truths sum up the Trinity. Number one, God is three persons; God is three persons. Scripture refers to God with plural pronouns. Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image…” Isaiah 6, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”
(Isaiah 6:8) And we see three distinct persons of the Godhead. We see the Father and the Son and the Spirit; they’re all persons. The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, is not a force, but He has personal characteristics. The Spirit teaches and leads and guides and directs and gives gifts. These are personal characteristics.
And they’re distinct from one another. The Trinity consists of three distinct persons: Father, Son, Spirit. We look at a passage that we did a few weeks ago, Matthew 3, and we see at Jesus’ baptism, the Son being baptized, the Spirit descending on Him, and the Father speaking from heaven. So, God is three persons.
Second truth: Each person is fully God. The Father is fully God. The Son is fully God. So, what we’re saying here in Hebrews 1 and all over the New Testament is the Spirit is also fully God. Acts 5 tells us that, when you lie to the Spirit, you lie to God. The Spirit is omnipresent. The Spirit is omniscient. The Spirit is fully God. God is three persons, each person is fully God, and, finally, there is one God; not three Gods, but one God. “The LORD your God is one,” Deuteronomy 6. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
Now, how does all that come together? God is three persons, each person fully God, yet there is one God. This is a mystery, not a contradiction; not a contradiction but a mystery. Tozer said, “Love and faith are at home in the mystery of the Godhead. Let reason kneel in reverence outside.” And we need to be careful. We need to be very careful not to try to neaten this up and simplify it into a cozy formula or analogy that makes just perfect sense. Oh, yes, I mean some of the things people have said, “The Trinity is like an egg. You have the yolk and the white and the shell. That’s the Trinity.” Or, “The Trinity is like water. You have liquid, vapor and ice.” Or, “The Trinity is like us. Like, maybe in my life, I’m a husband, I’m a father, and I’m a pastor. And so that’s the way it is. That’s what God is like. He’s a Father and a Son and the Spirit.”
All of those analogies are woefully inadequate. God is not an egg, yolk and white and shell. It misses the entire point. The Spirit is fully God. The white is not fully egg. God is not water. Liquid, vapor, ice, they’re not fully the same in all times in the way that God the Son is fully God and the Spirit is fully God. And the Trinity is not about roles or hats we put on. There’s been a variety of other things the Trinity is in church history. The Trinity is like a tree: Bark, trunk and leaves. The Trinity is like a three leaf clover. It is three parts, but each part is fully clover. That’s weird. Don’t say things like that.
Some people try to express this whole truth grammatically and say, “Well, let’s just say God are one,” or, “They is three.” That’s dumb. You embarrass us when you say things like that. Don’t say things like that, okay? Don’t go there. The most famous quote, most famous about the Trinity is, “Try to explain it, and you’ll lose your mind, but try to deny it, and you’ll lose your soul.” Let’s be okay with having a God who is so infinitely great that, maybe, just maybe, our finite minds can’t fathom every single detail about who He is.
The Son is the ultimate communication of God, from God and the exact representation of God, and then, He has superior identification with God. We’ve been in the beginning of Hebrews 1:1-4, the middle in verse 3, and then, the end closes out and talks about how the Son “became as much superior to the angles as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.” (Hebrews 1:4) In the book of Hebrews, we see a lot of pictures, especially in these first couple chapters, about angels and angels as mediators in the covenant between God and man, particularly in God’s covenant with Moses, and the mediatory role, the role as mediators that angels played. And the author is making very clear that the Son is not just a prophet, not just a mediator, but He is the full revelation of God, the mediator between God and man, and He reigns supreme.
Now, this is not in your notes, but I want to just pause real quickly and point out two radical implications of the things we’ve just seen. Number one: We live in a world today where, since the time of Christ, all kinds of people have come on the scene and tried to claim that they had a newer, better revelation from God. Maybe it’s Mohammad. Muslims would say Jesus is a prophet in the same way Moses or Abraham were prophets, but there was full revelation from God in the prophet Mohammad. Others that show up on your door step would say Joseph Smith has a newer, greater revelation. And then some who you would turn on your TV and see preaching on TV would claim to have new messages from God, maybe where you would least expect it, new revelation from God, new words from God.
Brothers and sisters, we have no need of a new word from God, and we never have had since the time of Christ. He is the fullness of God’s revelation, and He is sufficient. He is gloriously sufficient. And anyone who claims to have superior revelation than Him misses the entire point. He is Lord, and no one else is. He is the ultimate communication from God, the exact representation of God and has superior identification with God. You cannot match that.
Number two: Have you ever thought or even said to God or wanted to say to God, “I wish He would just speak to me. I wish I could just hear your voice. I wish you were not silent.” I’m guessing that most, if not all of us, in our faith journey have struggled with that at different points. And I want to remind you the gentle encouragement that is here in Hebrews 1: God is not silent; He has spoken. He has spoken loud and clear. No, He doesn’t give us a message in the sky, which sometimes we want, and we kind of long for, but He has given us something infinitely greater. He has taken His Son, the exact representation of His being, and His Son has taken up residence in you and in me.
And He’s not giving us messages in the sky. Instead, He’s giving us His presence in our hearts to lead us and guide us and direct us, to form us, to change us so take confidence. Especially if you are finding yourself right now at a point in life where you’re struggling, don’t know exactly what to do and have a little confusion about where it’s going or where you’ve been or what’s next, let me encourage you: You abide in Christ, you seek after Christ and you abide in His Word and His revelation to you, and He will lead you. He will guide your every step guaranteed, and He will not fail you.
As priest, Jesus represents man before God.
As prophet, He reveals God to man. Second off, Jesus as priest represents man before God. Notice the contrast here. A prophet speaks to men on behalf of God; a priest speaks to God on behalf of men, communicates to God on behalf of men. So, we have a little reversal here. Jesus is representing man before God. Now, we’ve talked a good bit about this. We’ve spent a couple of weeks in Hebrews 10. I want to show you just real briefly how important this is in the book of Hebrews. And we’re not going to camp out here long, but this is probably the favorite picture for the author of Hebrews when it comes to the person of Christ and the work of Christ.
Look with me at Hebrews 2:17. We’re going to fly through, but I just want you to see chapter after chapter after chapter. We’ll read a verse and move on, but you circle every time you see Jesus mentioned as priest. Hebrews 2:17. “For this reason…” talking about Jesus, “…he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest…” And circle there, “high priest in service to God.”
Then, go to the next chapter, Hebrews 3:1, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” Circle it there. Look at the next chapter, Hebrews 4:14. These are not all the places where the picture of priest is mentioned, but I just want you to see the importance, centrality of this picture of priest. Hebrews 4:14, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest…” Circle it there. “…who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest…” Circle it there. “…who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.”
Keep going to the next chapter, Hebrews 5, and look down in verse 10; this is talking about Christ. It’s all over the beginning of Hebrews 5. You get down to verse 10, and it talks about how Jesus “was designated by God to be high priest…” Circle it there. “…in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:20, very end of Hebrews 6, in the last verse, verse 20: “Jesus went before us, has entered the presence of God, throne of God on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” He’s become a high priest forever.
In Hebrews 7:26, talking about Jesus, the author says, “Such a high priest…” Circle it there. “…meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” That is a great verse. Meditate that on that this week. It is a great picture of the glory of Christ, our high priest. Next chapter, Hebrews 8:1, “The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven…” Two more chapters. In Hebrews 9:11, the author writes, “Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made…” He came as the high priest. And then, in Hebrews 10:11-12, there’s a contrast here. He says, “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest…” That’s talking about Jesus there, “…when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…” That all leads this up to what we studied a couple weeks ago in Hebrews 10:21, when the author says, “We have a great high priest over the house of God…”
So, here’s the picture: How is the author setting this stage, this picture of a priesthood, in Hebrews 1? And we see it about midway through Hebrews 1:3, when the author says, “After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” This is a picture of the priesthood of Christ, and it’s twofold. Remember what a priest would do? A priest would go into the presence of God on behalf of the people and would offer sacrifices before God to cover over the sins of the people. So, Jesus went into the presence of God and provided purification for sins. How did he do that? He died to obtain the blessings of our salvation. Jesus, as a priest, did not offer the blood of an animal, the blood of another, but He offered His own blood. He sacrificed His own blood. He died to obtain the blessings of our salvation.
What are those blessings? The purification of our sins. That word “purification” is a picture of cleansing. It’s interesting, with the exception of the book of Romans, the book of Hebrews talks about sin more than any other New Testament book. We see the gravity and the seriousness and the severity of sin everywhere. Because it’s when we see the severity of sin that we see the glory of the sacrifice our high priest has made; that’s what he’s showing us. He’s purified us from sins.
Get this: The supreme revelation of God, the One who is the radiance of the glory of God is the One who has taken all of your sin and filth and thoughts and words and things that we have done, and He’s the one who’s taken the sins upon Himself. Feel the gravity, the weight of this: The radiance of the glory of God, the exact representation of His being, died to obtain the blessings of our salvation.
And that’s what He did in the past. So, what is He doing now? This is where we miss it. We don’t talk about this. What is Jesus doing now? We’ll talk about what He did on the cross, and every once in a while, we will be talking about the fact that He’s coming back for us in the future. But what is He doing now? Is He just hanging out? Is Jesus preparing our mansion so that one day we can go live in great, economic, American prosperity one day up there; He’s getting it ready for us? Absolutely not. Jesus now lives to apply the blessings of our salvation. He died to obtain those blessings, now He lives to apply them. The blessings that He died for were the purification of our sins. What He lives for is the preservation of our souls; the preservation of our souls.
Listen to Hebrews 7:23-25. “There have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.” Jesus is a permanent priest. “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Now, get this: The radiance of the glory of God, the exact representation of God, the One in whom the fullness of God dwells is right now at the right hand of the Father, interceding on your behalf. At this moment, we have a high priest who is representing us before God and who stands ready to give us everything we need. Hebrews 12, what does it say? “Jesus is the author and the…” What of our faith? He’s the “finisher of our faith.” What an amazing reality that at any moment, at any moment, brother or sister, you can enter the throne room of God with confidence, because you have a priest there, a high priest who is ready to give you mercy and grace in your time of need.
He says in Hebrews 2:18, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Think about this. This week, when you are tempted to sin, when you are tempted to look at something, to say something, to do something, to feel something you know does not honor God, to go back to the sin that you’ve been delivered from, know this: At that moment, you have a high priest in heaven who is ready to give you everything you need to overcome that temptation. He’s been there, and He knows how to conquer it, and He enables you to conquer it. To remove fear, guilt and shame, immorality, this is the beauty of what Christ does as our priest.
As king, Jesus reigns as God with man for all of eternity.
As the prophet, He reveals God to us. As priest, He represents us before God, and all of that leads to third office as king. Christ is prophet, priest and king. As king, Jesus reigns as God with man for all of eternity. As prophet, He reveals God to man. As priest, He represents man before God. As king, He reigns as God with man for all of eternity.
Now, this is where we dovetail off this picture. After He provided purification for sins, He “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven…” He is seated at the place of honor. And what the author of Hebrews does, starting in verse 5 all the way to the end of this chapter, is he starts pulling Old Testament passages left and right. It’s an Old Testament extravaganza. He writes a multitude of promises about Jesus in the Old Testament, and He climaxes there in verse 13, “To which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'”
You come over to Hebrews 2:8, and it says, “In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him.” He is king over everything. Christ is king. He is king over all things. Think about this: Jesus is the exalted, risen and exalted king over everything. There’s nothing that is not at His feet. Think about the realities here. That’s what Hebrews 1 has been saying all along. You’ve got this in your notes. He is the beginning of all things, our Creator.
What did it say at the end of verse 2? “He has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” (Hebrews 1:2) Jesus is not just the ultimate communication from God; He is the agent of creation. God created through Christ. This is Colossians 1:16, “By him, all things have been created: in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” That is Jesus. John 1:3, back to the prologue there: “Through him all things have been made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” This is the picture: God created, and the agent of creating was Christ.
He is the Creator of all of things, and it gets better. Second, not only is He the beginning of all things, our Creator, but He’s the middle of all things, our Sustainer. “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful Word.” (Hebrews 1:3) What a statement! He’s sustaining all things in the universe; think about that reality.
Let’s journey for a minute. Let’s go beyond earth, sun and moon for a second, as if this is not enough. Let’s go to a couple of stars like the Alpha Centauri star, five times larger than the sun. Let’s go beyond that to the North Star, 400 trillion miles away, which is relatively close. Then, let’s go farther to Betelgeuse, 880 quadrillion miles away. I don’t know even how to put that in numbers: 880 quadrillion miles away. This is a star that is larger than the earth’s orbit. It takes 520 years for its light to even get to us. Like, we’re seeing light from this star that set out in the fifteenth century. Who keeps all of that running?
Let’s bring it back to the earth and the moon and the sun. The sun is a mere 93 million miles from us. It burns at a cool 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Here’s the reality: If we were just slightly closer to the sun, we would burn up in an instant. If we were just slightly further away from the sun, we would freeze in an instant. And who knew the moon was so important? If the moon did not retain its exact distance from the earth, it would cause the ocean tides to cover all the land on the earth twice a day, not that we would be around for the second one.
How about the ocean? If the ocean floors were a few feet deeper, the carbon dioxide and oxygen balance in the atmosphere would be completely upset and no animal or plant life could exist. Our globe is tilted at an angle of 23 degrees, which enables us to have four seasons. If it were not tilted this way then the vapors from the ocean would move north and south and develop monstrous continents of ice. Who keeps that precisely the way it is?
The Son is sustaining all things by His powerful Word. Let this rule you; let this master you. Let this control you. Everything in this room is sustained by the Word of Christ. The only reason we’re on the ground right now is because Christ is keeping us on the ground via gravity. The only reason our lungs are holding together and our arms and our legs are holding together and our hair is holding together, if we even have hair left, is because Christ is doing it. Do we realize every single heart that is beating in this room multiple times every single minute is beating because Christ Himself is sustaining us? Do we realize how dependent we are on this God, this man, Christ Jesus?
God help us. God help us not to depict Him as a poor, puny Savior who is just begging for people to accept Him. He’s infinitely worthy of all glory in all the universe, and He sustains everything in the universe by His Word. The beginning of all things: our Creator; middle of all things, our Sustainer, and just think real quick about this: Think about the rock solid confidence here, brothers or sisters. The One who sustains the universe is the One who is charged with sustaining your salvation. This is why Jude 24 and 25 just leaps with confidence. God is able to finish what He has started in you, Philippians 1. He is able to bring you to the point where you will stand before the presence of the holy God. Christ is able to sustain all things in the universe; He is more than able to sustain your salvation.
And then He is the end of all things, our Redeemer. He is the creator of all things, the Sustainer of all things, and He is the heir of all things. The author of Hebrews says in verse 2, “…the heir of all things…” What does that mean? I wish we had time to unpack, especially these Old Testament pictures that are here in the last part of Hebrews 1, but the picture of being an heir is the picture of the one who possesses all things; all things belong to Him. This is why Colossians 1:16 not only says that all things were created by Him, but all things were created for Him. This is why Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and to him belong all things.” Everything exists under the authority of Christ for the glory of Christ. The United States, North Korea, Afghanistan, France are all existing under the authority of Jesus Christ. Every president, ruler, dictator are all existing under the authority of Jesus Christ. Everything is under His feet. He is the heir of all things.
And this picture of the heir of all things sustaining things is not just that He’s holding it up and trying to keep it altogether. The picture of sustaining, the word picture here is He’s carrying it to a purpose, and there is coming a day when He will assert His kingly rule over all things, and there will be a new creation. He will reconcile, Colossians 1 says, all things to Himself. This is the picture of Christ our Redeemer, don’t miss that.
Every teenager in this room, every child in this room, every man or woman in this room, please do not miss this. There is coming a day when every single person in this room and every person in all history will bow, and every tongue will confess in heaven and on earth and under the earth that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Whether or not He is Lord is not up to you. One day we will all call Him Lord. The question is, “Will we call him Lord now or will we wait until it is too late?” That is the supreme question.
And if you’re here this morning, and you have not submitted to Him as Lord, maybe, you’ve bought into a cheap and easy salvation in the past that didn’t assert the Lordship of Christ, or maybe you’ve gone through religious motions, or maybe you’ve rejected Him as Lord outright up until this moment, then I invite you and I urge you to say in your heart at this moment the words of Romans 10: “Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) You’ll be saved; be saved today; be saved now. Turn and fall before His Lordship and let Him provide purification for your sins, and trust Him to provide preservation for your soul for all eternity.
And then, when you do, brother or sister, when you do, do not fear; you have no need for fear anymore because you have a Creator and a Sustainer and a Redeemer who is at the right hand of the Father. And so, you don’t need to fear when things are not going the way you had planned in your life. You don’t need to fear when the future is uncertain. You don’t need to fear when the economy is not treating you well. You don’t need to fear when there are rampant shootings all over the country. And you don’t need to fear when there are wars and rumors of wars and rockets. You don’t need to fear death itself, because He has conquered it. You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear; you are a son of God.
Worship in the Life of the Church…
Now, if we are sons, children, then that means, according to Romans 8, that “we are heirs heirs of God and…” Catch this: “…co-heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:17) Christ is supreme, and you and I are co-heirs with Christ. If, indeed, we share in His sufferings now, brothers and sisters, then one day we will share in His glory. This is where Lordship in the life of Christ leads to worship in the life of the church. We live, brothers and sisters, as children of God and co-heirs with Christ, who not only see His glory, but one day, we’re going to share in His glory.
Go with me to Matthew 21. After you’ve written that down, keep your Bible open and go with me to Matthew 21. This is the beginning of Jesus’ Passion Week, and it was unusual in some senses. We know where that week is going. Before He is taken out of Jerusalem on Friday as a criminal, He is welcomed into Jerusalem on Sunday as a king. And this is the story we find in Matthew 21. Imagine this:
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” This took place to fulfill [This is exactly what we’ve talked about: fulfillment] what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
This was common when a king was anointed, was ruler, sovereign. Once in authority, the people would lay down their cloaks on the ground and lay down branches, festal branches, olive branches.
“The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’” Hosanna, quoting there from Psalm 118. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” And Hosanna means “save us, save now, save us. You’re king, save us.”
“When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’” That’s the question. That’s the question. And even those who lined the streets with palm branches and laying down their cloaks even had no clue, but we know. They had no clue that, yes, this was a prophet. But this is a prophet who was about to take the wrath of the Father upon Himself. Yes, this priest was a priest who was about to shed His blood as a sacrifice for the sins of men. And, yes, this was a king to whom all things would be submitted. We have a distinct advantage looking at Matthew 21, because we see this text through the lens of Hebrews 1, and we realize that the one sitting on this colt is the ultimate communication from God, the exact representation of God, the prophet, priest and king who reigns over all things.
And so, what I want to invite us to do this morning is, in just a moment, we are going to stand together, and we’re going to pray all across this room. And here’s what I want to ask you, invite you to pray about and to contemplate: I want to invite you to contemplate the Lordship of Christ, the authority of Christ and the reign of Christ. And I want to invite you to ask the question, “Have I submitted my life to His Lordship?” I don’t make Him Lord; He is Lord. That fact is supreme, and every single one of our eternities is based on whether or not we surrender to Him as Lord. And I want to invite you to contemplate what that means in your life and do the same in my life, and then if we would say, “Yes. Yes, He is Lord. He is supreme. He reigns over all of me.”
Then, I would invite you, after you contemplated that, to make your way to one of these tables and to grab one of these olive branches as a physical picture of the Lordship of Christ over your life, Christ who reigns as king. And what we’re going to do together is, 2,000 years after this happened on that Sunday, we’re going to gather together on this Sunday, and we’re going to give Christ the glory He is due for who He is. And we’re going to sing of His glory in the highest, and we’re going to cry out, “Hosanna! Save us! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” And blessed is Christ and all who join with Him. Will you stand with me?
How can we apply this passage to our lives?
How is Jesus the ultimate communication from God?
What does it mean for Jesus to fulfill the office of prophet?
What three truths about the Trinity are explained in this sermon? How do these truths help your understanding of God?
How is Jesus both our Priest and our King?
In what areas of your life are you struggling to submit to Christ’s Lordship?