My wife has a very soft voice. When she talks to me from another room I can never hear her and it frustrates both of us. Sometimes even when she is in the same room and other things are going on like music or the TV it is hard to hear her. I really have to focus on listening to her voice in the midst of the noise around me. One of the underlying questions in the book of Hebrews is, “God is speaking, are we listening?”
Hebrews 1:1-3 begins with,
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 (CSB).
The author opens his letter by telling his readers that God has spoken to their ancestors in many different times and ways. He’s essentially summarizing the entire Old Testament, starting with God speaking with Adam, Abraham, and the other Patriarchs. Then giving Moses the law, which he will explain later as mediated by the angels. And then the prophets after Moses like Elijah and Jeremiah who spoke on God’s behalf. But in verse 2 the author gives a shift, he says that was the past and long ago, and now God speaks to us through His Son. This is a huge shift in thinking He is making a comparison, between God speaking through these various ways and now Jesus speaking. He goes on throughout the letter to show that Jesus is superior to the angels, Moses, and the prophets. Why? To tell his audience they need to listen to Jesus’ words!
The rest of verse two describes Jesus as the heir of all things and the Creator of the universe. Jesus being heir means He owns everything. It’s all His. And that Jesus is also the one who created all things. This is a link to John 1 as Jesus being the Word of God and Genesis 1 as God speaking all things into existence. The author wants us to know that Jesus is equal with God. This is a really profound and deep theological start to a letter. But the author doesn’t end there. He gets deeper in verse 3!
Verse 3 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It’s a summary of the relationship between Jesus and God. We are told three different things:
Jesus reflects God’s glory
Jesus is an exact stamp of God’s nature
Jesus sustains the universe through His word.
The best way I can summarize this verse is if you want to know God and who He is we only need to look at Jesus. Why? Because Jesus is God.
He concludes the opening to the letter by summarizing what Jesus did, He made purification for sin and is sitting on God’s throne. He is the King of Kings. This is the basis of the entire letter. Jesus is God and He has spoken to us, therefore we ought to listen.
Each time I read and think on these verses I am reminded that Jesus is speaking and ask myself if I am listening? My encouragement and challenge to you today is are we listening to what Jesus is saying?