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The Superiority of Christ

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The Superiority of Christ

Hebrews 8:1
Hebrews 8:1 HCSB
1 Now the main point of what is being said is this: We have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
The overall theme of the book of Hebrews is the Superiority of Jesus Christ. That is Jesus Christ is preeminent.
Colossians 1:15–17 HCSB
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:1
Simply stated — Jesus Christ is better. He is better than anything before, because He was before what was before. He is better than any OT person. He is better than any OT institution. He is better than any OT ritual, any OT sacrifice, any OT priest. He is better than any OT prophet. He is better! He is better than anyone and everything.
The book of Hebrews teaches the total, complete, and absolute superiority of Jesus Christ.
This theme of the superiority of Jesus Christ is presented in contrasts of — Better. Better because Jesus Christ is better. For instance, we have because of the Superiority of Jesus Christ — a better hope, a better testament, a better promise, a better sacrifice, a better substance, a better country, a better resurrection — the bottom line is because of the Superiority of Jesus Christ Everything is Better.
And let’s full understand what is meant by — Better — Better means the Supreme Best. For instance we are presented in Christ and as dwelling in a completely new dimension — the heavenlies. So, we have this heavenly Christ, a heavenly calling, the heavenly gift, the heavenly country, the heavenly Jerusalem, and we have our names written in the heavenlies. Everything is new and therefore, everything is better.
And this comes down to one statement, one sentence actually summarizes the entire book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 8:1 HCSB
1 Now the main point of what is being said is this: We have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
Hebrews 8:1
That’s the summary of the entire message of Hebrews: We have some kind of High Priest. And this is stated first in what He did: He sat down. This speaks to the completion and efficacy of His priestly action. He sat means it was finished, complete, the job was done, it was a success. The sacrifice was accepted — fully and completely. He accomplished what was needed. God the Father was satisfied. There is nothing else to do. It worked!
And then notice where He sat — at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens! This is monumental, Superior, the best, the highest, the most glorious. All that other stuff — is voided, it’s of no use. The Mosaic Covenant, the sacrifices, the priesthood, all of it — of no use. Because He has fulfilled everything they were. Christ is better in every way.
So, let’s go back to the beginning and work ourselves through the book and look a little more detail of the magnificent contrasts of how Jesus Christ is Superior.
We begin first with His superiority to Everyone and Everything.

I. Jesus Christ is Superior to Everyone and Everything.

Hebrews 1:1–3 HCSB
1 Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son. God has appointed Him heir of all things and made the universe through Him. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Hebrews 1:1-3
The writer begins with the high note. He begins at the top, the creme of the crop. He is hitting this big with the crescendo. He’s not working himself up. This is like a trump blast announcing the king.
Various times and various ways — Over about 1800 years and 39 different books, through historical accounts, visions, symbols, parables, poetry, and prose, God has revealed what He wanted His people to know. God promised His Christ and all of this was to prepare for Him to come.
In these last days — which means the days of the Messiah, of His coming — This is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. They are in Him. That is Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of everything God Promised. And so, God spoke the message of His redemption — by His Son,” who is the heir. The heir of Almighty God would obviously be His and under His control. In other words, Jesus Christ, the Son of God has the full extension of the authority. In verse 6, He is called the “firstborn into the world.” This doesn’t mean that Jesus was created first in the world, but that He is Superior who the Father brought into this world of time, space, energy, and matter — that is the entire universe and everything that makes it function.
And made the universe through Him — This indicates that the Son was the Creator God. We read the same thing in Colossians. He not only created it all, but He sustains it, He keeps it all together.
And now the writer gets to what proves the Superiority of Christ.
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory — This is the only time that word “radiance” is used in the NT and it means to send forth light. It’s not a reflection. It is to radiate. The Son is not a reflection of God’s glory — He is God and radiates His own essential glory.
The Son is the exact expression of His nature“Exact expression” or “exact representation” is also the only time this word is used in the NT. It was used outside of the Bible as an engraving in wood, an impression in clay, or the stamped image on coins. It meant that in His person, His nature, Jesus Christ was the exact nature and essence of God in time and space.
And as such, Jesus Christ Sustains all things. This conveys the concept of movement or progress. The Son of God directs and moves all things toward the consummation of all things according to the Sovereign purposes and will of God and He does it just like He created everything — by His powerful word.
And then to show the proof —
After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. And there He is, at the place of power, authority, and honor. The seat Christ has taken is the throne of God, where He rules as sovereign Lord. He is victorious, not a defeated martyr. He is enthroned. And He is therefore Higher than all, Greater than all, Better than all, Superior to All.
He is better than the Angels — verses 1:4-14
He has a better message — 2:1-4
He is better than Moses — 3:1-19
He is better than Joshua, giving His people a better rest — 4:1-13
He is better than Aaron
Hebrews 4:14–16 HCSB
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
Hebrews 4:14-
And this brings us to His priesthood.

II. Jesus Christ is Superior to the Aaronic Priesthood.

Hebrews 4:14–16 HCSB
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.
Here the writer expounds on .
Psalm 110:4 HCSB
4 The Lord has sworn an oath and will not take it back: “Forever, You are a priest like Melchizedek.”
Not only is Christ superior to Moses and Joshua, but as High Priest, He is superior to Aaron.
Hebrews 5:6 HCSB
6 also said in another passage, You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
Just as the high priest under the Old Covenant passed through the outer court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies to make atonement for sin, Jesus passed through the three heavens (the atmospheric heavens, the stellar heaven, and God’s abode, when He made the perfect and final sacrifice for sin.
The tabernacle was only a limited copy of the heavenly reality. When Jesus entered the heavenly Holy of Holies, having accomplished our redemption, the earthly facsimile was forever finished.
The writer emphasized Jesus’ sacrifice for sins with the use of His name — Jesus Son of God, the title of humanity (Jesus) and deity (Son of God). An you’ll notice that is the confession we are to hold fast. This confession of Jesus Son of God is the center of our confession of faith in the gospel, because the whole of redemption centers upon Jesus who is God in human flesh who died for our sin.
And then notice how in verse 15 speaks of the sinlessness of Christ — “who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.” He was able to be tempted but He was never able to sin.
And it’s because of this High Priest we are now able to approach the throne of grace. Most monarchs were unapproachable. Think about the King of Glory, the God of all the universe who is Holy, holy, holy — How much more unapproachable is He?
And yet — it was at the very throne that was before unapproachable that Christ made atonement for sin that grace was dispensed that we might approach with boldness.
You see this was an altogether different priesthood. What benefit was the Aaronic Priesthood? Notice what Christ’s priesthood gives us in verse 16.
“so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.”
We attended a funeral yesterday of a 19 year girl. So sad. But she was a believer. Her family are believers. And we remarked how wonderfully the pastor gave the word of God to them, how he gave Christ as comfort to them.
The writer then gives an exhortation (5:11-6:20) related to the spiritual condition of his readers to full commitment to Christ. He then returns to the subject of Christ’s priesthood.
For this Melchizedek
Using two OT references to Melchizedek from and , chapter 7 explains the superiority of Christ’s priesthood to that of this unique high priest. Chapter 7 is the focal point of the entire epistle because it gives detailed comparison of Christ’s priesthood and the Levitical priesthood.
Just look at the comparisons briefly with me.
Melchizedek, unlike Aaron, had no record of birth or death in stark contrast to the details of Aaron’s death in . His parents were unknown. His priesthood was not hereditary. His priesthood was similar to Christ’s in that it was universal, royal, righteous, peaceful, and unending. The Levitical priesthood changed as each priest died until it passed away altogether, but the Melchizedek priesthood is perpetual since there is no record of beginning or end — no birth, no death.
The writer built this argument to show the perfection of the Priesthood of Christ.
Hebrews 7:11 HCSB
11 If then, perfection came through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law ), what further need was there for another priest to appear, said to be in the order of Melchizedek and not in the order of Aaron?
Hebrews 7:11
This perfection that was absent from the Aaronic Priesthood, reveals the complete reconciliation with God and unhindered access to God through Jesus Christ.
And so he concludes in verse 17.
Hebrews 7:17 HCSB
17 For it has been testified: You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
And this was secured by an oath of God in verse 21 — “The Lord has sworn, and He will not change His mind, You are a priest forever.”
And this gives us the surety of Christ’s priesthood as being — a better covenant.”
This is important because this means Jesus Christ saves to the Uttermost.
Jesus Christ’s Priesthood is Superior.

III. Jesus Christ’s Sacrifice is Superior to the OT Sacrifices.

We have the great statement of that again states — We have some kind of High Priest.
That is the central message of Hebrews. We have — that is a current possession — a superior High Priest in Jesus Christ — Who, is not only the priest offering the sacrifice, but the Sacrifice that is superior. And we come to that Sacrifice in chapter 10.
Hebrews 10:4–7 HCSB
4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Therefore, as He was coming into the world, He said: You did not want sacrifice and offering, but You prepared a body for Me. 6 You did not delight in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings. 7 Then I said, “See— it is written about Me in the volume of the scroll— I have come to do Your will, God!”
Hebrews 10:4-
It was never possible for the blood of bulls and goats to remove sins. The OT sacrifices were only shadows of the good things to come. It was only preparatory for the sacrifice of Christ to come that would cleanse our consciences from the guilt of sin — something the other sacrifices could never do. All this was done in the body prepared for Christ.
Christ sacrifice made the sacrifices, made the Old Covenant obsolete. And this the writer of Hebrews declares is better.
We then “have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus.”
Hebrews 10:19–21 HCSB
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh ), 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God,
Hebrews 10:19-
Jesus Christ is a better Sacrifice, a Superior Sacrifice that gives us Superior Privileges.

IV. Jesus Christ Gives Superior Privileges.

Hebrews 10:19–21 HCSB
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh ), 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God,
Hebrew
Look at his description in verse 20 — New and living way.
New
It’s new in that it is new because the covenant is new. It is not the way of the Levitical system.
Living Way
A living way opened by Christ’s death. The Hebrews were invited to embark on this living way through the sacrifice of Christ.
The Old Way could not even bring man into God’s symbolic, ceremonial presence, much less His real presence. But by the blood of Jesus, we can now draw near to God in faith. We can enter the holy place.
To the Jew who took the Old Covenant even remotely serious, the prospect of drawing near to God is as awesome as it was wonderful. I believe he addressed this to fellow Jews, and not Christians in verse 19 when he says, “Therefore, brothers —” inviting them to leave the Levitical system behind for the appropriate privileges only found in the New Covenant through the blood of Christ’s death.
To do so brings the privilege of a position of a heart cleansed from an evil conscience in verse 22. And the privilege of a practical sanctification — “And our bodies washed in pure water.”
These are Superior Privileges found only in Jesus Christ.

V. Jesus Christ’s People have Superior Behavior.

Hebrews 13:1–5 HCSB
1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it. 3 Remember the prisoners, as though you were in prison with them, and the mistreated, as though you yourselves were suffering bodily. 4 Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers. 5 Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.
Hebrews 13:1-
This then results in a Superior Behavior. In relation to others, they love. How much hate is in this world? How much anger? How much ingratitude? How much selfishness? But the Christian has a Superior Behavior that begins with love. We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:7–10 HCSB
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:7-
And this love results in hospitality, remembering prisoners, the mistreated, those suffering bodily. This results in a marriage that is honorable and respected by all, the marriage bed kept undefiled. This is sexual purity saved and kept in the marital relationship. It’s also a life of satisfaction with stuff. They are people who are not coveting.
Charles Spurgeon once said in all the people who have come to him and confessed their sin, he said this. “But in all my life I’ve never had one person confess the sin of covetousness to me.”
Covetousness is the love of something you don’t have. The love of money is one of the most common forms of covetousness because money is how we secure what others have without stealing it. A Christian should be free of this. and notice the statement the Hebrews writer makes after this statement about the love of money in verse 5.
Hebrews 13:5 HCSB
5 Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you.
Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Now that may appear odd or strange that this is here, but looking for security in material things instead of your heavenly Father is a form of distrust in the care of the Lord for your every need.
The Christian is superior in that they remember their leaders who have “spoken God’s word” to them, verse 7. They are not lead astray by the various kinds of “strange teachings” — False Doctrine. They submit to the faithful pastor who teaches the Word of God. They, verse 17, “obey their leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.
They live lives that, in verse 15, “continually offers up to God a sacrifice of praise.”

VI. The Faithful are Superior to the Faithless.

VII.
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