Theology Thursday: God’s Greatest Sermon
The opening verses of the letter to the Hebrews serve as a fitting introduction to one of the most majestic christologies penned by a New Testament author. Writing to a persecuted (Hebrews 10:32-34) Jewish-Christian community dangerously close to apostasy (Hebrews 6:4-6), the unidentified author of Hebrews aims to persuade the readers of this “word of exhortation” (Hebrews 13:22) to remain in the faith (Hebrews 12:1-4). Following the rhetorical style of Greek speeches, the opening exordium of Hebrews 1:1-4 encapsulates the major theological themes the homily/sermon will cover. The author’s main point is simply: “God has spoken to us by a Son” (v. 2).
The rhetorical force of the overall argument is merely hinted at in the introduction. Through the longer manuscript, the author exhorts that neglecting God’s great salvation (Hebrews 2:3) or falling away from the faith (6:6) should be unthinkable on account of the superiority of the person (Hebrews 1:1-4:13) and work of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-10:18). Moreover, the superior nature of faith in Christ (Hebrews10:19-13:17) should prevent believers from abandoning it for an inferior revelation. Thus, the overall message of the letter to the Hebrews is the full unpacking of the greatest sermon ever preached by God Himself!
No Jew would challenge the idea that God has spoken through the message of the prophets of the Old Covenant (Hebrews 1:1). In fact, this revelatory message continues to be the basis for understanding the nature of God, the fallenness of humanity and the history of salvation, among many other important theological themes. Moreover, the message of the New Testament canon itself is not the “GOAT” in the domain of revelations.
The single most important sermon proclaimed by God himself has been and always will be the very life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the pre-existent and eternal Son of God (see Hebrews 1:2-3). From incarnation to ascension, Jesus was the highest form of God’s self-revelation for “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being” (Hebrews 1:3).
Compared to the previous revelation of prophets, angels, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, the Old Covenant, the Levitical priesthood, the sacrificial system (all of which make cameo appearances in the text), Jesus is far superior as is attested thirteen times in Hebrews. To conclude, in light of the most excellent revelation which is the Son, the greatest sermon ever preached by God Himself, like the intended audience of the letter to the Hebrews we would also do well to hold fast to this exceedingly greater revelation and not exchange it for anything, which unapologetically is without a question far inferior to Jesus.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.
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