5. Jesus Sustains The Universe
Hebrews 1:3 says,
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word…” (Heb 1:3)
In the past, Jesus was the creator of the world. Jesus is appointed to be the heir of all things in the future. But, that’s not all. The author talks about what Jesus does now regarding all things. He is the sustainer of the world who upholds all things with his powerful word.
Paul said in Colossians chapter 1,
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth… all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col 1:15-17)
Even now, Jesus sustains the world with his word. In his sovereignty all things hold together. As Paul said, “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
It’s important for us to acknowledge this truth because sometimes we’re tempted to think that Jesus is far away from us and that he is not in control. But, when the writer says “Jesus sustains all things by his word,” we’re definitely included as part of all things. Jesus sustains our lives and holds us with his powerful word.
No matter how we feel about our situations, we should still proclaim that Jesus is in control! That’s what the author wanted his readers to know. If they were truly able to focus on Jesus and proclaim that even the hardships they faced were in his control, they wouldn’t have felt tempted to betray him, but would have had hope in him all the more.
6. Jesus Is The Sacrifice For Sin
After revealing the truth that Jesus sustains the world, the writer continued,
“…After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Heb 1:3)
Now, the author emphasizes Jesus’ ministry of salvation. Even though Jesus was involved in creation, his main ministry was the salvation of his people from their sins, which is also a main theme of the latter part of Hebrews.
One of Jesus’ greatest works was that he provided purification for sins. God prepared Jesus as the only solution to human beings’ greatest problem—sin.
Even though he was the Son of God, Jesus humbly came down to this world and accomplished perfect purification through his sacrifice and redemption. Jesus gave himself as an atoning sacrifice for our sins so that those who believe in him may be free from the reign of sin and reconciled with God.
Because no one on earth is able to perfectly purify themselves by paying the price for their sins, Jesus willingly paid the ransom for our sins on our behalf. Jesus is the perfect righteousness of God through which we can be forgiven and justified.
So, by stating the fact that Jesus provided purification for sins, the author reminded the readers of the truth that true forgiveness, salvation, and righteousness are found only in his name. That’s what we should continue to keep in mind as Christians.
When Jesus was doing His ministry on earth, “a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick” (Jn 6:2).
Wherever Jesus was, many followed him. But, it seems that their purpose in following Jesus wasn’t for spiritual blessings or for their salvation. They followed Jesus because they saw Him perform many miracles and heal people, and they likely wanted to get something from him.
In John chapter 6, Jesus fed a large crowd with five loaves of bread and two fish. And, Jn 6:14 says,
“After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world” (Jn 6:14).
Even though many followed him, Jesus had to leave them because he knew that they intended to make him king by force. What they wanted from Jesus was different from what Jesus really wanted to give them.
So, Jesus kept trying to avoid them, but they persistently sought him. And, when they finally found him, Jesus said to them,
“Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me… because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” (Jn 6:27-28)
Then, Jesus revealed to them that his real purpose in coming to the world was to give them spiritual bread from heaven which gives eternal life. Jesus said,
“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you - they are full of the Spirit and life.” (Jn 6:63)
Hearing this, many who had followed Jesus were disappointed and turned back from him after realizing that they wouldn’t get what they wanted from him.
Jn 6:66 says,
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” (Jn 6:66)
So, it was made clear that what they really sough was not Jesus himself, but benefits they thought they would get from him.
Then, Jesus asked his twelve disciples,
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” (Jn 6:67)
And, this is what Peter answered, let’s read it together.
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6:68-69)
Only those who truly acknowledge who Jesus is and know what he really gives us can profess something like this. Even though Jesus gives us many blessings and fulfills our needs, those shouldn’t be the primary reasons we follow him. If we only seek earthly blessings from Jesus, we would ultimately end up turning back from him when our needs are not satisfied.
What Jesus really wants to give us is eternal life. For this very reason, Jesus came to the world, was crucified, and shed his precious blood.
When many are turning away from him, we should keep our faith in Jesus. And, we can only do that when we strongly believe that true salvation only comes from Jesus.
Later, after seeing Jesus resurrected and being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter even more boldly proclaimed to the people in the street,
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Ac 4:12).
That’s what the author of Hebrews wanted his readers to believe. By saying, “He had provided purification for sins,” the author wanted his readers to have strong conviction and unshakable faith in Jesus in the face of the severe hardships that were overwhelming them. And, that kind of conviction is what we must have in order to truly follow Jesus in the world despite many temptations, worries, and difficulties.
After writing that Jesus had provided purification for sins, the author added, “…He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Heb 1:3)
We might miss the importance of the verb ‘sit’ here at first glance, but the original readers likely knew what the verb implied. The fact that Jesus sat down after he had done all the works for our salvation shows the perfectness and eternal nature of His salvation because in Jewish tradition the act of sitting implied that something was over.
We see this in Hebrews 10. In this chapter, the author compared Jesus’ sacrifice to the priests’ sacrifices in the Old Testament. He said,
“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God… For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Heb 10:11-12, 14)
Priests in the Old Testament had to offer the same sacrifices over and over again because they weren’t perfect. So, they had to continue to ‘stand’ for their duties. The fact that they continued to stand up shows the imperfectness of their sacrifices.
But, after offering one sacrifice for our sins, Jesus, our eternal high priest, sat down at the right hand of God. It not only shows that his sacrifice was perfect, but also that its effect is eternal. So, by describing that Jesus sat down, the author emphasized the fact that His sacrifice is perfect and eternal and that it is therefore superior to all the sacrifices that had been offered before.
When Jesus breathed his last breath, he said, “It is finished,” which means that he completed perfect and eternal sacrifice for our sins. That’s the Jesus whom we believe in.
He is the Son of God who shows us the exact representation of God’s being. He created all things, is sustaining all things with his powerful word, and will be the heir of all things. Jesus provided purification for our sins by offering himself as an atoning sacrifice, and his sacrifice was perfect and eternal. Thus, we can only find true salvation in the name of Jesus.
Then, if we truly understand and acknowledge those truths about Jesus, our response must be to profess, ““Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68)
I really hope that everyone of us here can know who Jesus is in more depth so that we can always have our eyes fixed on him and follow him no matter the situation with strong conviction and unshakeable faith in him.