Hebrews 1:2a-3

1.   Samuel Porter Jones, a 19th century Methodist evangelist, is credited with being the original author of the following statement.  Over the years, others have added to and refined the statement.  I can’t think of a better way to begin a study of these verses in Hebrews than by sharing it.  This version is in John MacArthur’s commentary on Hebrews:  "Christ came from the bosom of the Father to the bosom of a woman.  He put on humanity that we might put on divinity.  He became Son of Man that we might become sons of God.  He was born contrary to the laws of nature, lived in poverty, was reared in obscurity, and only once crossed the boundary of the land in which he was born -- and that in His childhood.  He had no wealth or influence and had neither training nor education in the world's schools.  His relatives were inconspicuous and uninfluential.  In infancy He startled a king.  In boyhood He puzzled learned doctors.  In manhood He ruled the course of nature.  He walked upon the billows and hushed the sea to sleep.  He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His services.  He never wrote a book and yet all the libraries of the world could not hold the books written about Him.  He never wrote a song, yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all songwriters together.  He never founded a college, yet all the schools together cannot boast of as many students as He has.  He never practiced medicine and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors have healed broken bodies.  This Jesus Christ is the star of astronomy, the rock of geology, the lion and the lamb of zoology, the harmonizer of all discords, and the healer of all diseases.  Throughout history great men have come and gone, yet He lives on.  Herod could not kill Him.  Satan could not seduce Him.  Death could not destroy Him and the grave could not hold Him." [MacArthur, p.9]

2.   In this session we are going to focus on one of the most complete, and yet at same time, most succinct descriptions of Jesus found in Bible.  In our previous session we saw from Hebrews 1-2a that God has spoken. 

--in v.1 saw that "long ago" God spoke through the prophets...

--in first part of v.2 saw that "in these last days" God has spoken in His Son...

Beginning in middle of v.2 and continuing through v.3 writer of Hebrews gives a beautiful description of God's Son.

3.   These statements about Jesus fall into two broad categories.  Some focus on who Jesus is and some focus on what Jesus has done.  Instead of looking at them in chronological order, we will look at them under those two broad categories



This is the central question of Christianity and indeed central question of life.  If we get this wrong, it doesn't really matter what else get right because have missed the essence of life in this world.  That's why when Jesus nearing end of earthly ministry He took disciples up to Caesarea Philippi, a beautiful place at foot of Mt. Hermon where melting snow of the mountain form the headwaters of the Jordan River.  There, in that beautiful setting, Jesus tested His disciples understanding of His identity.  I is significant that during that time of testing did not ask, "How do you interpret Old Testament or what is most pressing social issue of day or what are you political leanings?"... Instead, He wanted to know if they understood His true identity.  That's because in contrast to all other world religions, Christianity is not based primarily on an institution or code of ethics or list of rules and laws or even a book.  Christianity is based on a person, the person of Jesus Christ.  That's why it is absolutely critical that we have a clear understanding of who Jesus is.  These verses tell us four important things about the identity of Jesus:


Jesus is "…heir of all things…" (v.2)

  1. All of creation, both physical and spiritual, belongs to Jesus.  The Father has willed it all to the Son.  When think about that, it's rather amazing statement.  As one writer pointed out, "Think of it ... a Galilean carpenter who was crucified on a hill outside the city of Jerusalem" has the title to everything that ever was.  And even more amazing than that is that we, through faith in Him, are joint heirs with Him! (Galatians 4:7; Romans 8:17)

  2.  In the first century world, an heir had all the rights and privileges of the owner. And the phrase "heir of all things" is simply beautiful, poetic way of saying "Jesus is Lord."

    2.   While world does not now see it nor does the world understand it, the day will come when, as Paul put it in Philippians 2:10, "At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow … and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father."

    3.   The earliest confession of the church was, "Jesus is Lord" and that is still the basic confession God desires from us today.  He is "Heir of all things."


    Jesus is "…the radiance of His [God's] glory…" (v.3)

    1.   The word translated "radiance" (used only here in the New Testament) means "to send forth light."  Jesus is the light of God.

    --Just as the rays of the sun shine on the earth providing light and warmth, so Jesus is the light of God which shines on us.

    --And just as the sun was never without and cannot be separated from its brightness, so God has never been without or separated from Christ.  Never was God apart from Christ nor Christ apart from God.

    2.   And we would never be able to see the light of God if it were not for Jesus, the radiance of God's glory.  As the Apostle John put it in John 1:18, "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."

    3.   To a world darkened by sin, injustice, failure, hurt, separation, sickness, pain, and death God sent His Son.  And the Son said, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

    4.   The OT refers to the "shekinah" glory of God that dwelt first in the tabernacle and then later in the temple.  Jesus Christ is the "shekinah" glory of God Who dwells in the lives of those who know Him.  He is "the radiance of God's glory."


    Jesus is "…the exact representation of His [God's] nature…" (v.3)

    1.   This phrase literally overflows with meaning.  The imagery is taken from a very common practice in the first century.  A die or stamp was often used to make a distinctive mark on a seal.  A small amount of wax would be place on the paper to be sealed, and while wax was still soft and pliable, the die or stamp would be pushed down into it.

    2.   The image left in the wax would be whatever was on the seal.  In the wax would be an exact representation of what was on the seal.  And obviously, when you looked at the image in the wax, would see the image of the seal.

    3.   In same way, when you look at Jesus, you see God.  That's why Jesus could make such statement as, "I and the Father are one" and "If you have seen Me you have seen the Father..."  Jesus is the exact representation of the very nature or essence of God....


    Jesus is “…at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (v.3)

  1. This phrase reminds us of the exaltation of Jesus.  God does not have a right hand. This is a biblical metaphor of power, authority, and preeminence.” [1]

  2. The ‘right hand’ of God speaks of the place of authority which belongs to Jesus by right as God’s Son. Significantly, he is now there as our high priest, one of the great themes of this letter. This was red-hot teaching for Jewish Christians, with temple worship still proceeding; it should be a powerful reminder to us not to go back to Old Testament ritual. [2]



    Jesus made the world – “…through whom also He made the world…” (v.2)

    1. The translated "world" in that statement is not normal Greek word which is translated world.  That word is "kosmos" and it generally means physical world.  The word used here, (“aionos”) is much broader meaning.  It carries the idea of the world of time, space, energy, and matter.  Everything that is and everything that ever will be has been created by Jesus.

    2.   That is theme which permeates New Testament.  The early Christians placed strong emphasis on Jesus being God's agent/instrument in the creative process.

    John 1:3 - "All things came into being by/through Him [Jesus], and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."

    I Cor.8:6 - "...there is ... one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him."

    Colossians 1:16 - "For by Him [Jesus] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things have been created by Him and for Him."

    3.   One of most important philosophical questions you must answer is the question, "Am I hear by chance or choice?"  Did creation just happen due to string of unbelievable coincidences or was universe created on purpose by higher power.  The biblical message is that everything which exists was created by, through, and for Jesus Christ.

    4.   Since birth of age of rationalism in middle-ages there has been an on-going debate between science and religion concerning the matter of creation.  The debate still rages today.  To my way of thinking it is a misguided debate.  Science and religion have totally different roles in relation to creation.  Science looks at creation and asks the question "How?" but religion looks at creation and asks the question "Who?"  And no matter what science may determine about how the world was made, the biblical message is that behind that process was the person of Jesus Christ.

    5.   And understanding that has tremendous implications for our lives.  It means that we're not just sophisticated piece of primeval slime which have no dignity, value, and worth.  We are a special creation of God.  And because He made us, He has a creative claim on our lives.  We are not free to do as we please, we are only free to do what pleases Him, Our Creator.


    Jesus holds the world together – “…upholds all things by the word of His power…” (v.3)

    1.   Jesus didn't just create the universe ages ago, set it in motion, and then leave it alone.  He is the force, the power which keeps the universe on track.

    2.   We live in a delicately balance world.  I want to share with you another quote from John MacArthur’s commentary on Hebrews. "The sun has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  If it were any closer to us we would burn up; if it were any farther away we would freeze.  Our globe is titled on an exact angle of 23 degrees, providing us with four seasons.  If it were not so tilted, vapors from the oceans would move north and south and develop into monstrous continents of ice.  If the moon did not retain its exact distance from the earth the ocean tides would inundate the land completely twice a day ... If the ocean floors were merely a few feet deeper than they are, the carbon dioxide and oxygen balance of the earth's atmosphere would be completely upset, and no animal or plant life could exist.  If the atmosphere did not remain at its present density, but thinned out even a little, many of the meteors which now harmlessly burn up when they hit the atmosphere would constantly bombard us.  We would have to live underground or meteor-proof buildings.  How does the universe stay in this kind of fantastically delicate balance?  Jesus Christ sustains and monitors all its movements and inter-workings.  Christ, the preeminent Power, maintains all." [MacArthur, p.17]

    3.   But not only does Jesus hold the universe together, He is the One who holds our lives together.  When we --

    --are crushed by some sorrow, He becomes our Comforter...

    --are overcome by loneliness, He becomes our Friend...

    --are in need, He becomes our Provider...

    --are depressed, He becomes our Encourager...

    --are confused and disoriented, He becomes our Guide...

    --are weak, He becomes our Strength...

    --afraid, He becomes our Confidence...

    --sad, He becomes our Joy...

    And the list could go on and on because Jesus is the One who holds the world together.


    Jesus has redeemed the world – “…He made purification for sins…” (v.3)

    1.   That prhase is, of course, a reference to the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross.  The Bible says that the wages of sin is death.  Because of our disobedience and rebellion against God, we deserve spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God.

    2.   But Jesus intervened on our behalf, going to the cross, and dying in our place.  He took upon Himself the penalty of our sin.  And by accepting His death on our behalf, He frees us from the penalty of sin and purifies us from the stain of sin.

    3.   Because God is a holy and righteous God, the penalty for our sin must be paid.  Either we pay it ourselves and that price is eternal death/separation from God, or we accept Jesus' payment on our behalf which results in eternal life.

    4.   Jesus not only made us physically, but He has re-made us spiritual. He has both a creative and a redemptive claim on our lives...

    5.   When I was small child the pastor of the church we attended told a story that has stuck with me all these years.  It is about a boy who made a small sailboat.  He spent hours carefully crafting and painting the little boat.  After a rain he took the boat to a drainage ditch near his home and watched helplessly as the water swept it away.  Some days later he saw the little boat in the window of a second hand shop with a for sale sign on it.  He saved his money until he had enough to purchase the boat.  When he brought it home he said, “Now it is really mine.  I made it and I have purchased it.”

    6.   And that is exactly what Jesus did for us has done for us.  He made us and then bought us with His blood.


    At the very outset on this letter, the writer eloquently declares the unique relationship between Jesus and the Father. This is spelled out in seven descriptive phrases. It is one of the highest Christologies in the NT (cf. John 1:1–18; Phil. 2:6–11; and Col. 1:15–17).

1.   the heir of the Father’s creation (v. 2)

2.   the agent of the Father’s creation (v. 2)

3.   radiance of the Father’s glory (v. 3)

4.   Exact image of the Father’s nature (v. 3)

5.   the sustainer of the Father’s creation (v. 3)

6.   the means of forgiveness of the Father’s creation (v. 3)

7.   the royal and priestly Messiah sent by the Father (v. 3)[3]





[1] Utley, R. J. (1999). Vol. Volume 10: The Superiority of the New Covenant: Hebrews. Study Guide Commentary Series (11). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.

[2] Hacking, P. H. (2006). Opening up Hebrews. Opening Up Commentary (14). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[3] Utley, R. J. (1999). Vol. Volume 10: The Superiority of the New Covenant: Hebrews. Study Guide Commentary Series (7–8). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.