The Book of Hebrews is kind of like the Mt. Everest of the New Testament. It takes us to the peak and exalts the supremacy of Christ like no other book.
One of the other magnificent things about Hebrews is that it acts as a key to unlock the connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Finally we see what has been anticipated from old, manifested in the gospels, and proclaimed in the book of Acts and the letters of Paul. Hebrews really explains how Christ is the fulfillment of all the anticipations that have now been made manifest.
The book starts off with Jesus declared to be the final revelation of God. God has spoken in past ages in many forms and in various ways, and yet in these last days he has spoken to us in his Son. And he is superior to any of the the angelic hosts. These angels are on display in the Bible as God’s messengers and ministers sent out to accomplish his will, and yet Jesus is a greater messenger and a greater minister because he is God incarnate. He is greater the Michael, greater than Gabriel, and greater than any of the other angelic hosts.
The supremacy of Christ over the angels and the prophets of the Old Testament is a dominant theme of Hebrews. For example we find Jesus to be greater than Moses, who was the author of the Law by the inspiration of the Spirit. And he is shown as greater than Joshua, who led God’s people into the Promised Land.
One major preoccupation of the book is to show how Jesus is the ultimate and final High Priest, supreme and superior to all the multitude of priests of the Old Testament. He is on display in the gospels as the great and final High Priest who is able to accomplish what all the multitudes in the Old Testament were unable to accomplish. For all their numbers and all their sacrifices, Jesus proves to be the ultimate and final mediator between God and men. Hebrews seeks to unfold this for us, in an extended way, and show just how great our final High Priest is.
Christ himself is also shown to be the final sacrifice that all the sacrifices of the Old Testament anticipated. Hebrews declares that the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins. It remained for the God-man Jesus Christ, by virtue of his indestructible life and eternal priesthood, to offer himself as the final mediator and final sacrifice.
Therefore we have a more perfect and abiding ability to approach God. He ushered in a way of access to God that the priests of the Old Testament could never accomplish. Having entered the heavenly Holy of Holies, Jesus now says come with me.
Hebrews is a word of brief exhortation that will bring you to worship God for his great plan of redemption.
Charles Stolfus is the Director of the Lay Institute at Denton Bible Church and guest instructor at the Kanakuk Institute.