Take your Bible and turn to Luke 2 for a few moments, and in particular, verses 10 and 11. “The angel of the Lord said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” And then, of course, the angelic hosts appear to declare glory to God in the highest.
When we think about Christmas we always wind up thinking about angels. They are sort of bit players in the cast of Christmas for most people. They appear kind of on the fringes of Christmas cards. They’re loveable creatures, but they don’t seem to play a very major role, at least not in the sentimental Christmas of most people. But that is not the case in the real story. Angels were the heavenly messengers sent to declare that the Savior and the Lord had arrived, and that He was Christ. I want you to look at that word “Christ” in verse 11. That is not Jesus’ last name.
Matthew reveals the same truth at the end of the genealogy of Jesus in His gospel. Matthew says Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah. His name was Jesus, His nature was Lord, but His title is Christ or Messiah: Mashiach in the Hebrew, Christos in the Greek.
We see that word so often but miss the significance of it unless we look more closely. Both the Old Testament word “Messiah” and the New Testament word “Christos” mean the Anointed One, the Anointed One, and it’s drawn from the Old Testament where God anointed certain persons for special responsibility in His kingdom. The Old Testament promised a Savior, a Redeemer, a Deliverer, a Servant of the Lord, Messiah, the Anointed One. When Christ arrives, the Anointed One has arrived.
The Jews had waited long for that. Psalm 2:2 promised that the Lord was going to send His Anointed. Psalm 45:7 says, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of joy above Your fellows,” a prophecy of the coming of Messiah. Daniel 9:25 and 26 identify the coming Redeemer, Savior, Messiah as Messiah the Prince. Whether using the word “Messiah” in the Old Testament, the “Anointed One,” or “Christos” in the New Testament, the Anointed One, it means the same thing. So His name is Jesus, His nature is Lord, and His title is Christ the Anointed One.
Now in the Old Testament there were three particular people who were anointed for unique elevated service in the kingdom. They were anointed with oil. Oil was poured on their heads as a symbol of they’re being set apart to God. First of all, it was the prophets. We see this, for example, in 1 Kings chapter 19 and verse 16 where Elijah is told to anoint his successor the prophet Elisha. We see it in 1 Chronicles 16:22 where we read, “Do not touch My anointed, and do My prophets no harm,” and that’s repeated in Psalm 105. So prophets we know were anointed in a unique way, set apart to speak for God.
Second group that were anointed were priests. In Exodus 29 you have Aaron and those who were in the Aaronic priesthood, instructed to be anointed. In Exodus chapter 40, verse 15, the sons of Aaron were to be anointed again as priests unto God. In Leviticus 8 you see the same thing with Aaron being anointed. This again sets them apart for special service.
And the third particular duty that received anointing was that of the king – prophets, priests, and kings. First Samuel 10:1, Saul, the first king, was anointed. First Samuel 16, David was anointed. First Kings chapter 1, Solomon was anointed. And again, this symbolizes the outpouring of heavenly blessing on one who is called to uniquely heavenly tasks.
So the promise of God in the Old Testament was that there would come an Anointed One, an Anointed One: the Savior, the Redeemer, the Deliverer. But He would also be the ultimate Prophet, the ultimate Priest, and the ultimate King.
In Isaiah 42, verse 1, we read, “Behold, My Servant,” – God is speaking, meaning Messiah – “whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him.” God is identifying there His Messiah as His Servant in whom He delights.
In Isaiah 61 we read this similarly: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of the vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.” The Anointed One is speaking there in Isaiah 61.
The Messiah would be all three. According to Deuteronomy 18, He would be a prophet like Moses. According to Psalm 1:10, He would be a priest; and that’s repeated again in Zechariah chapter 6. He would be a priest, a unique priest. According to Psalm 2, and then again in 2 Samuel chapter 7, He would be King. He would be the King in David’s line. Psalm 2 says He would rule the nations of the world.
So when you see the announcement of the angels that this is Christ, they are saying, “This is the Promised Anointed One who is the ultimate Prophet, the ultimate Priest, and the ultimate King. And, of course, from the third chapter of Genesis where God pronounces curses on man and woman and the serpent, we are told that there would come one who would crush the serpent’s head. From Genesis 3 on, the anticipation builds as you go through the Old Testament, waiting for the arrival of this ultimate, all-glorious, all-powerful Prophet, Priest, and King: the Anointed One.
This is God’s plan and promise. Didn’t happen; centuries went by, until, as Paul says in Galatians 4:4, the fullness of time came. And when the fullness of time came, He was born; and that’s what lands you right in Luke 2, verse 11: “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Messiah, the Anointed One, the Lord.”
If you drop down to verse 25 of Luke 2, after Jesus had been born, eight days passed, it was time for Him to be circumcised, to go to Jerusalem, present Him to the Lord, make an offering, and verse 25 says, “There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Anointed One. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then Simeon took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said, ‘Now, Lord, You are releasing Your slave depart in peace,’ – referring to himself – ‘according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples: a light of revelation to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.’” Simeon, this old man, was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Anointed One. He saw Him and said, “I can now leave to my heavenly reward.”
This was the most monumental day in Israel’s history since the promises of the Old Testament were finally wrapped up in the last of the 39 books written. They had waited even beyond that for hundreds of years; but now in Bethlehem, the Messiah has arrived, the Anointed One – the Prophet, Priest, and King above all prophets, all priests, and all kings.
And as we come into the Gospels, the story begins to unfold. Turn to John chapter 1, verse 35: “And the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ And they said to Him, ‘Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come, and you will see.’ So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John” – John the Baptist – “speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). ‘We have found the Messiah.’”
The disciples knew He was the Promised Messiah. He declared that Himself; look at Luke chapter 4, Luke chapter 4. “He came to Nazareth,” – down in verse 16 – “entered the synagogue, stood up to read. Took the book of the prophet Isaiah which was handed to Him. He opened the book and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,’ – and that is what we just read in Isaiah 61, that’s what Jesus found and read – ‘because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.’ He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. The Anointed One has arrived.’” That’s how the New Testament begins.
In the fourth chapter of John’s gospel, we read Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman. “The woman said to Him,” – verse 25 – ‘I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’” The New Testament Gospels are written to declare that the Promised Messiah (Prophet, Priest, and King) arrived, and He arrived as Jesus, the one who was also Lord.
In John 11, verse 25, “Jesus says to Martha, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.’” She is declaring that He is that Promised Redeemer, Savior, Deliverer, Messiah, Prophet, Priest, and King.
In the book of Acts, Peter stands up to preach that great sermon on the Day of Pentecost, chapter 2, verse 30, and He declares that David was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, verse 30 of Acts 2, “And he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, the Christ, that He would neither be abandoned to Hades, nor His flesh suffer decay. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him” – that is Jesus – “both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.”
The message of the Lord Himself was that He is the Messiah, and He has arrived to fulfill the promises. This is affirmed by the apostles and the disciples. This becomes the subject of their preaching in the book of Acts. If you go down to chapter 3, verse 18, “The things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” They had not acknowledged that the Christ would suffer, the Messiah would suffer, so the apostles had to preach that it was promised by God that Messiah would suffer. Come to the eighth chapter, we meet Philip, and it says, “Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ, Messiah.” The message of the apostles was that the Messiah, the Promised One had arrived.
Chapter 9, “Immediately Paul the apostle began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogue saying, ‘He’s the Son of God,’” verse 20. “He kept increasing in strength” – verse 22 – “and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.”
Chapter 10, verse 34, “Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all).’” The message of Peter as the message of Paul was always the reality of the arrival of the Messiah in the form of Jesus.
Chapter 17, “Paul in Thessalonica went into the synagogue” – verse 3, chapter 17 – “explaining and giving evidence that the Christ” – the Messiah – “had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.’” So you get the picture.
From the announcement of the angels that the Christ has arrived, to the testimony of Simeon, to the testimony of Jesus, to the testimony of the apostles, to the testimony of Paul, it was always that Jesus was the Christ. And as the Christ, He was the ultimate Prophet, Priest, and King. All three of those come together in the first chapter of Hebrews, so I want you to turn to that. It really is the text of the day, Hebrews chapter 1.
It begins by describing the Lord Jesus Christ in these three marvelous, anointed ways: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Notice the phrase, “He was” – starting in verse 4 – “much better than the angels.” Superior to the angels who announce His arrival. In fact, He is the King of the angels. But chapter 2 of Hebrews and verse 9 says that, “When He came into the world He was for a little while made lower than the angels, in order to suffer death, then be crowned with glory.”
So Hebrews chapter 1 is introducing us to the Anointed One, and He is introduced to us as, first of all, a prophet; and secondly, as a priest; and thirdly, as a king. He is the Prophet who reveals God, He is the Priest who reconciles to God, and He is the King who reigns with God. Let’s look, first of all, at the Prophet who reveals God.
“God,” – verse 1 – “after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many way, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.” Now we know that the natural man cannot understand the things of God, 1 Corinthians 2:14 – “they’re foolishness to him.” He is dead and blind; he is unable to discern. “The god of this world has blinded his mind, lest the light of the gospel would shine unto Him,” Paul says to the Corinthians. We do not expect man to understand God or the gospel in a natural sense. We don’t expect that any more than we expect the bug the boy puts in the bottle to understand the boy.
God had to speak. We could not know Him if He did not speak; and He did. I love how this simply says, “God has spoken. God has spoken,” the true God, not an idol, not a dumb piece of wood or rock, not an impersonal cause, not an indifferent power; but God has spoken, which means He is a person, and He has spoken. And that is why the Bible is called the Word of God.
In the Old Testament we’re reminded here that He spoke long ago, meaning in the Old Testament, to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways. Many portions: different books. Many ways: direct revelation, indirect revelation, inspired writing, visions, dreams, types, symbols. But always He spoke, and He spoke to the people through the prophets. The Old Testament was God speaking and men writing down what God said. Some of the Old Testament is history, some of it is poetry, some of it is law, some of it is prophecy, but all of it is God speaking. That is why it is called the Word of God.
It was, in a sense, incomplete. The revelations that compose the 39 books of the Old Testament, separate books, are stretched over a millennium, written by many different authors; and it was progressive, it was incomplete – not error, but incompleteness marks the Old Testament. God was increasing our understanding as revelation continued. No prophet got the full revelation of God, not until we see in verse 2 that God spoke unto us in His Son. No prophet ever grasped the full truth of God, only Jesus was the full truth revealed. He was no fragmentary revelation. He was no bits and pieces. He was not an incomplete revelation. In Him, God did not display some facets of Himself or some facets of His truth, but fully revealed Himself. No longer in diverse manners and diverse ways, but singularly through Christ.
For a moment look at John 1: “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God,” speaking of the Son of God. So we know the Word was God. Go down to verse 14: “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Full truth is revealed in Him. Verse 18: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”
In Jesus God is fully revealed, and the New Testament is written about this full revelation. The four Gospels describe the arrival and the ministry of Jesus. The book of Acts describes the apostolic preaching concerning Jesus. The Epistles lay out the significance of His life and death and resurrection and implications in the world. And the New Testament culminates in the book of Revelation with His glorious return. The New Testament’s all about Jesus Christ who is the full revelation of God. “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” say the apostle Paul.
God spoke in His Son. And by the way, the words of Jesus, they said they’d never heard a man speak like that man spoke. It was clear even to Nicodemus, the teacher in Israel, that Jesus was a teacher sent from God. He spoke for God. In fact, He says He only spoke what God wanted Him to speak.
In John chapter 5, you see how powerful His words are, the most powerful expression of His words since the creation. John 5:25, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” His words are so powerful they not only created the entire universe, they not only sustained that universe, but they’re so powerful that He will raise all the dead in the end.
“Just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son to also have life in Himself; and He gave him authority to execute judgment, because He’s the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did good deeds to the resurrection of life, those who committed the evil to a resurrection of judgment.” He speaks, and the universe comes into existence. He speaks, and the dead are taken out of their graves, given a body suited for heaven or a body suited for hell. That’s how powerful His words are. He is the revelation of God in full.
Now just notice that verse 2 begins by saying, “In these last days.” That’s a familiar phrase to the Jews. It meant latter days, messianic days, the messianic age. He had arrived in God’s time to be the Messiah, and He is the voice of God.
Listen to John 14:24, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” He’s the perfect Prophet; He speaks only the words that God ordained for Him to speak.
In Luke 13:33 He says, “Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.” So He recognizes Himself as a prophet.
In Luke 24:19, “They said to Him, ‘The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people.” He was a prophet because He spoke only what God wanted Him to speak. He stated Himself to be a prophet, and those who followed Him declared that He was in fact a prophet. There had never been a prophet like Him. His words were full of grace and truth, and powerful enough to raise the dead.
In the seventeenth verse of Acts chapter 3, we read the apostles say, “I know you acted in ignorance, as your rulers did. But the things which God announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive, and the period of restoration of all things, about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times.” He is the prophets’ prophesied Prophet. He is the one who fulfills God’s messianic picture. He is God’s voice.
You go to the Old Testament and you see this unfolding of revelation; the Messiah, bits and pieces unfold. To Abraham, we find the nation of Messiah. In Jacob, we find the tribe of Messiah. In David and Isaiah, we find the family of Messiah. In Micah, we find the town of Messiah. In Daniel, we find the time of Messiah. In Malachi, we find the forerunner of Messiah. Again in Isaiah, we find the death and resurrection of Messiah. But each writer only knew in part; and Peter says they looked at what they wrote to see who this really would be. But when Christ arrived, He is the complete, full revelation of God – not in drifting hues and separated color, but pure, divine light.
So when the angels said, “Christ has been born,” this is exactly what they were referring to. And the writer of Hebrews tells us, “This one speaks for God. He speaks for God.” He wants you to understand that even in a deeper way, and so listen to what the writer says. He’s going to define Christ in some magnificent terms.
“He is the Son of God.” – verse 2 – “He is the heir of all things. He is the one who made the world. He is the radiance of God’s glory. He is the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” Again he comes back to this. What he’s trying to show us is that He is the ultimate Prophet. No prophet has ever had words that are as powerful as His.
If you ask, “Who is Jesus Christ?” here is your answer. He is the eternal Son of God. But not just that, He is the heir of all things. He is the heir of all things. He possesses the right to absolutely everything. In the book of Revelation in chapter 5, you see this illustrated when the Lamb of God comes out of the throne in chapter 5 and picks up the sealed book, which is the title deed to the universe. Verse 6, “I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God” – or seven-fold spirit – “sent out into all the earth. Came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.” And then all of heaven bows down to worship Him as He unrolls the title deed to the universe and begins to take it back from the usurper.
He’s the rightful heir to everything that God possesses. Yes, for a while He was lower than the angels. But He is much better than the angels; He is the King of angels. He is the one who will inherit everything. He inherits it because He created it. Go back to verse 2 again, “through whom also He made the world.” With the agency of the Son, God the Father created. “Everything was made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made,” John 1:3. Colossians 1:16 says He created everything, absolutely everything. He created it all by word. He spoke it into existence. He speaks for God, and He speaks with such power He could create the universe in six days. And as we saw in John 5, He can raise the dead and bring them to a final form suited for heaven and suited for hell by the word of His mouth.
When it says there – just as a note – “by whom He made the world,” it’s actually the term aiōnios, not kosmos which speaks of the material world, but “made the ages.” He’s the author of all that exists in history. He’s the author not just of the material world, the immaterial world as well and how it all interacts. He is the Creator of the ages and all that they embody.
As such also, verse 3 says, “He’s the radiance of God’s glory.” He’s the heir of all, He’s the creator of all, because He is the Light of all. When it says, “He is the radiance,” it’s the word “brightness” actually. “He is the shining forth of God’s glory,” 2 Corinthians 4 says that. We see the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus. Just as the radiance of the sun reaches the earth and lights and warms, give life and grows, so Christ is the glorious Light of God shining into the hearts of men.
The brightness of the sun is not the sun, but the brightness of the sun draws its energy from the sun. The brightness of the sun is as old as the sun. Never was the sun without its brightness. The brightness cannot be separated from the sun; and yet the brightness of the sun is not the sun. And so it is with the Son of God. He is not the Father, but He is indistinguishable from the Father as the light of the sun is indistinguishable from the sun itself. He says in John 8:12, “I am the Light of the world; whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness.”
It’s amazing how the writer of Hebrews wants us to understand that this is one who is fully equipped to speak for God, because He is the heir of all things, He is the creator of all things, He is the very radiance of the essential nature of God in all His glory. In fact, He goes a step further and says, “and He’s the exact representation of His nature.” Precisely exact. It’s a classical word that means just essentially what it’s been translated to mean. He is a precise copy. He is the authorized exact duplication of God in nature, substance, and essence. He is the eikōn of God. Colossians 2:9, “In Him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells.”
Not only that, He is the ruler of all: “He upholds all things by the word of His power.” This is speaking about His power to sustain everything that exists. Everything in the universe has to be held together, and it is held together by the word of His power. Notice that, “the word of His power.” He speaks, and the universe is created. He speak, again, constantly, continually, and the universe is sustained until it’s determined end has arrived.
If He has this much power to speak the universe into existence, to uphold the universe until time for it to be replaced by a new heaven and a new earth, if He is in fact the heir of all that God possesses, if He is by nature God Himself, if He is the exact representation of God, then we can say there is no other who could so speak for God as this one, as this one. He directs all the movements of the ages by the word of His power or the power of His word.
So here the write of Hebrews is introducing us to one unlike any other one, through whom God has spoken in a way that He never spoke before – not in bits and pieces, not in fragments, not in separated books, not in an incomplete way, not in an accumulated way short of the full revelation. No. This one is the full revelation of God. He is the Promised Anointed Prophet.
And, secondly, He is not only the Prophet who reveals God, but He is the Priest who reconciles to God. Go back to verse 3: “When He had made purification of sins.” This introduces us to His priestly work. That what priests did. They went before God in the prescribed way to offer the necessary sacrifice that God required to pay for the sins of the people. That’s what Jesus did. He offered the only sacrifice that could take away sin.
There was no priest like Him. Every priest would go back every day and do what he did in the morning again at night, and again the next day, and the next day, and the next day. There was never any end to it. But the writer of Hebrews wants us to understand there’s never been a priest like this one. Chapter 2, verse 17, “He became a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Propitiation is satisfaction. He offered a sacrifice that satisfied God. No priest ever did that.
Chapter 4, verse 14, “We have a great high priest, Jesus Christ the Son of God. We do not have a great high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, but without sin. So let us draw near to Him.” He is a priest like no other priest.
Chapter 5, verse 5, “So also Christ” – there He is, the Messiah – “did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You,’ – Psalm 2 – “just as He also in another passage says, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.’ In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His piety.” Verse 9 says, “Having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.”
I can’t leave that theme without looking at chapter 9 of Hebrews. “When Christ” – the Messiah – “appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who had been defiled, it sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,” – in a temporal way or temporary way – “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And thus He is the mediator of a better covenant, in which redemption is accomplished.” The end of verse 26, “He manifested Himself to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” He’s not just a priest, but He is the Priest who offered Himself as the sacrifice.
To the Jews the cross was a stumbling block, and that’s why they had to preach, the apostles did, that the Christ, the Messiah, must needs have suffered. But He came to be the Priest, to offer the ultimate sacrifice, and to be that sacrifice. Peter says, “We’re redeemed not with corruptible things like silver and gold, but the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish and without spot.” He came to offer Himself to take away our sins.
Go down to chapter 2, verse 9: “He was made a little lower than the angels, that He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” He was the perfect Priest, sympathetic. He was the perfect sacrifice. He was man, and He substituted for man; He was God and had the power to defeat death.
The perfect Prophet who speaks for God because He is God, who has creative power beyond comprehension; and whatever He speaks He speaks with that power. He is the Prophet, the voice of God who reveals God to us. He is the Priest whose intercession reconciles us to God. But He is not just the Priest, He is the sacrifice as well.
And, thirdly, in these opening few verses, we meet Him as the King. The end of verse 3, “When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Priests never sat down. They never stopped offering sacrifices. It was impossible for them to sit down. Sacrifices in the morning, sacrifices in the afternoon, day after day, after day, after day, year after year, decade after decade, century after century. The priest never sat down because his work was never finished.
But Jesus sat down because He was not just a priest, He was a king. He sat down at the right hand, the power side of the Majesty on high; He took His rightful place. As the book of Revelation says, He became King of kings and Lord of lords. And from that moment when He ascended into heaven after He had accomplished His priestly work, He reigns as the eternal King.
So the writer of Hebrews introduces us again to the Christ: the Prophet who speaks for God, reveals God; the Priest who reconciles us to God; and the King who reigns with God. The evidence of His sovereign royalty is verse 4: “Having become as much better than the angels, as He inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He” – God – “ever say, ‘You’re My Son, today I have begotten You’? And again, I will be a Father to Him and He shall be a Son to Me’?” God never said that to an angel. “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.’”
Now that takes us back to where we started. Go back to Luke chapter 2. He arrives as the Anointed Prophet, Priest, and King. The writer of Hebrews says He’s much better than the angels, and the angels acknowledge Him as their King. And that’s exactly what they do when the angel of the Lord appears and says, “Today in the city of David there’s been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest.’”
The angels don’t need a prophet. The angels don’t need a priest. The angels do have a king; He has always been their King: Jesus, King of angels, heaven’s Light. Charles Wesley understood that when he wrote, “Hark! The herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn King!’” The angels, the holy angels have always worshiped Him, and they worship Him as the ultimate Prophet, Priest, and King: God’s Promised Anointed Redeemer. Let’s bow together in prayer.
Our Father, we understand all that our feeble minds can grasp of the wonder and the glory of the Son of God. We long for that day when we will gather with the saints and angels in His presence and see the fullness of His glory; for He is the Light of heaven. But, Lord, we thank You that You have shown us in Scripture that none other than Jesus is Your Anointed Prophet who speaks for You, because He is one with You in nature and will. He is the Priest that You required to offer the sacrifice of Himself as a sufficient propitiation for sin. And He is the King whose priestly work was validated by the resurrection and by seating Him at Your right hand on that throne from which He rules as King of kings. We thank You for that announcement that day. We thank You for the reality that Christ is exactly who the angels said He was. He is Jesus, who is Christ the Anointed One, the Lord.
Help us not to misunderstand any of the glory that belongs to Him, so that we can join the heavenly hosts and say He’s not just the King of angels, He’s our King. We needed a prophet, we desperately needed a priest, and we now have a king who loves us and shares the fullness of His eternal inheritance with us forever. This is the One who was born in Bethlehem.
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