Church of England Diocese of Leeds Fountains

Daily passage and reflection

Sunday 16th May

We’re spending some days looking at what we are shown about Jesus in the book of Hebrews. It’s a part of the Bible which many Christians never read, and it can be quite chewy going in places, but there are wonderful treasures in it, and it can help us to grasp all sorts of good things about our Lord.

Hebrews 1:3-4

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.

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What do we see about Jesus here?

First, all that God is, Jesus is. God’s glory shines through him, and not just because he is a particularly saintly human ( though he did live a perfect human life). He is the exact representation of God’s being – in other words, he is himself God. When people ask what God is like, the answer is to look at the record of Jesus’ life, because there we see God himself in human form.

And then, his work of overcoming sin is finished. That’s why we’re given the picture of him sitting down (and to sit at the right hand of someone was then to be in the place of greatest honour). You don’t sit down until your work is finished. By his cross, resurrection and ascension, Jesus did everything that needed to be done to break the power of sin and open up a way for us to be reconciled to the perfect God.

So he was restored to the position of glorious authority he had shared with the Father from before time began. Evidently there was a bit of angel-worship going on at the time – there’s more about that in the rest of chapter one, which we won’t be looking at – but our writer is clear that Jesus is of a different order from any angel who was ever made. He is himself God, he has suffered for us, he has finished his work, and he is worthy of worship.

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Lord Jesus, we praise you that you gave up heaven’s glory to live a humble human life. Thank you that you saw your work through to the end so that we can be free from the slavery of sin. Protect us from slipping into the unrealised worship of anything else, whether false gods or material things. To you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be all the glory. Amen.