I’m working my way through the book of Hebrews, currently in the first few chapters, and it starts out with a pretty audacious statement about how God has been speaking.
In the past, God spoke through various prophets… but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. (1:1-2)
This frames what follows in the rest of the book – a Christological argument which builds chapter by chapter and is rooted in Old Testament scripture.
But what qualifies Jesus as being able to speak with the voice of God? And besides, isn’t that what angels and prophets usually do? Right at the beginning the author declares Jesus as the “heir of all things'” the “radiance of God’s glory” and”the exact representation of [God’s] being” (v1-3). And that’s just the introduction, the opening greeting to the letter. In the first four verses there is more dept and Christology that we can easily digest.
And with that, Jesus is qualified to speak on behalf of God. But he is not to be mistaken for an angel, as he is the Son of the Father. None of the angels are so intimate with the Father. He is given authority to rule with justice (1:8), and the privileged position at the beginning and end of creation (1:10-12). Jesus gets to sit at the Father’s right hand – an honoured place that no angel or prophet is permitted to take.
We might think this gives Jesus a position in which he can glorify himself. But we find that Jesus’ method of speaking was to shun that glory and become fully human himself. At present, creation is not as it should be – mankind should be, to borrow a phrase from Don Carson, ‘vice-regents’, or stewards of creation. We do not see that in its entirety yet. but we do see Jesus, made fully human as the ‘pioneer’ of our salvation. He is made fully human so that mankind can inherit it’s full humanity.
Through Jesus, God speaks. By getting to know Jesus, we are getting to know, quite literally, God’s Word. God speaks, and by looking at Jesus, who is worthy to speak, we can hear what he said.