It’s easy to say that Jesus is great. But how often do our lives reflect this knowledge? Does an awareness of His supremacy run deeper than our intellect to permeate our souls and direct our behaviors? How can His greatness impact our lives?
In the book of Hebrews, the author returns time and again to a key theme: Jesus is greater. In Hebrews 2:5-8 we see He is greater than angels. Hebrews 3:3 tells us He is a greater leader than Moses was in the wilderness, and 4:8 says He offers a greater rest than Joshua, who ushered the Israelites into the Promised Land. Further, 5:1-10 points to Jesus as a greater high priest than the priests of their day because He offers a perfect and everlasting sacrifice.
What does this mean for us today? When we’re tempted to hold leadership on a pedestal or quickly follow a new message from someone influential, we can stop and remember Jesus is greater. He is the ultimate authority over our lives.
The believers in Hebrews were not only threatened by false messages but also persecuted for standing firm on the truth. Amid their trials, they needed encouragement to “pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Heb. 2:1) and “hold fast our confession” (Heb. 4:14).
It’s easy to put ourselves in the shoes of the believers for whom this letter was written. Following Jesus can feel like swimming upstream against a wild torrent. Society, friends, and even family might misunderstand or protest what we hold dear and live for. And yet, what did the author tell believers in the face of opposition? Jesus is greater. He is greater than our weaknesses, bigger than our doubts, and has overcome our fears and failures.
The word “greater” resurfaces regularly throughout Hebrews. It is the Greek word κρείττων (kreittōn), which can be translated as better, superior, and more excellent. We read of a greater hope, promises, and life received through Christ. These beautiful blessings flow directly from His superior character, which is what the author first draws our attention to.
It’s a powerful practice when reading Scripture to pay attention to how an author introduces a character. First introductions set up the entirety of a story or book, which is undoubtedly the case in Hebrews. We read about Jesus in Hebrews 1:3, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Jesus perfectly reflects God’s glory. The word “radiance” translates as “giving off rays of light.” He upholds everything in the universe by the same divine and powerful word with which He spoke it into place. Further, He is our redeemer who has paid our penalty for sins and ultimately finished the work, sitting as God’s right hand.
In every sorrow, Jesus is a greater comfort than any earthly consolation. In every question, His knowledge is greater, and wisdom is abundant. In every trial, His powerful presence goes before us. He is greater than any human-made solution or strategy.
When our lives reflect those of the believers in Hebrews with opposition and hardship pressing in, we can hold firm to the confidence that Jesus is our greater hope. His promises do not disappoint, and our lives are anchored in His unchanging character.