“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
With this opening statement, the author of Hebrews begins his argument for the superiority of Christ, which is the main theme of the entire book. His original audience most likely consisted of first generation Jewish Christians. In the face of persecution and opposition to their faith, they were wavering and afraid. So much so, in fact, that many of them were considering returning to Judaism and the practices of the Mosaic Law, instead of continuing on with Christ, who had fulfilled and abolished that very Law. The author wrote to remind them of something they desperately needed to hear:
Jesus Christ is better. He is better than the Law and Jewish traditions. He is better than angels or prophets of the past. He is better than anything that has come before him. So much better that he is worth going on with, even in the face of hardships.
“Don’t go back!”, is essentially the underlying message in many of the passages of Hebrews. “Don’t go back, because Jesus is better than anything you have ever known.”
The picture Hebrews paints of Jesus Christ is a profound one. As the author builds the reader’s view of our Savior bit by bit, he is seen as the obedient Son, the suffering Servant, the faithful and merciful High Priest, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and the victorious and exalted Mediator of the New Covenant.
The believers at the time, as well as Christians today, are called upon to keep Him as the center of their attention. “…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1b-2).
The answer to every doubt, fear, and question, is to look upon the Lord Jesus.
Is there a believer who fears suffering? Let him look to Jesus, our captain, who forged ahead of us through the wilderness of pain, all for the joy that was set before him.
Is there anyone who feels alone in hardship or temptation? Let him behold our Faithful High Priest who was tempted as we are, and knows exactly what we experience.
Is there a Christian who questions if going on with the Lord is worth it? Let him be convinced by looking at Christ through the lens of Hebrews. Let him find the treasure of knowing that Christ is immeasurably more valuable than anything lost in following Him.
Only the knowledge that Jesus Christ was superior to anything they had experienced or might potentially lose could convince these Jewish believers to continue to walk with Him. This is what the juniors at NTBI are learning as well, especially as they consider giving their entire lives to be ministers of the gospel. The cost of following Jesus is great, but He is worth it. He is worth the loss, the hardship, and the uphill, arduous parts of this race. He is better.