Understanding the identity of Jesus is fundamental to being a Christian. Jesus is not just a good teacher, a prophet, a miracle worker, or an angel. Jesus is the unique Son of God who is responsible for creating and saving the world.
The author of Hebrews is making it clear that you can’t reduce Jesus to anything less than God and still be a Christian.
Hebrews 1:5-14 (CSB)
For to which of the angels did he ever say,
You are my Son; today I have become your Father,
I will be his Father, and he will be my Son?
Again, when he brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
And let all God’s angels worship him.
And about the angels he says:
He makes his angels winds, and his servants a fiery flame,
but to the Son:
Your throne, God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; this is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy beyond your companions.
In the beginning, Lord, you established the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain.
They will all wear out like clothing; you will roll them up like a cloak,
and they will be changed like clothing.
But you are the same, and your years will never end.
Now to which of the angels has he ever said:
Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool?
Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve those who are going to inherit salvation?
For some Jews angels were highly regarded as messengers of God. Apparently some Christians were trying argue that Jesus was not God, but an angel who God appointed as His first born Son and Messiah. Hebrews 1:5-14 explains why Jesus is greater than the angels. The author of Hebrews provides several reasons why Jesus is greater than the angels in this passage:
- Jesus is the Son of God - The author of Hebrews begins by quoting Psalm 2:7, which says, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father." This highlights the fact that Jesus is not just an angel or a messenger of God, but he is the Son of God. He has a unique relationship with God the Father that is superior to that of any angel.
- Jesus is worshiped by the angels - The author of Hebrews also quotes Psalm 97:7, which says, "Let all God's angels worship him." This shows that even the angels are called to worship Jesus, which is a clear indication of his superiority over them.
- Jesus is the Creator of the universe - The author of Hebrews says that God created the universe through his Son, Jesus. This means that Jesus was involved in the act of creation, which is a remarkable feat that no angel could achieve.
- Jesus is eternal - The author of Hebrews says that God calls Jesus "Lord" and "God" and that he will remain forever. This shows that Jesus is not just a temporary figure, but he is eternal, which is another trait that sets him apart from the angels.
- Jesus is seated at the right hand of God - The author of Hebrews says that Jesus has been exalted to the highest place and is seated at the right hand of God. This is a position of honor and authority that no angel has ever held.
The superiority of Jesus to angels is demonstrated by seven Old Testament quotations that show that he is God’s Son, that he is worshiped by angels, that he is the creator of the universe, that he is eternal, and that he is at the right hand of God. This also teaches that Jesus, though he is God, is distinguished from the Father.
What we believe about Jesus matters. He is greater to all created beings, including the other spiritual beings such as the angels. This means He is worthy of our worship and faith.