Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 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, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1 ESV)
There is so much here about Jesus. So much to think about and enjoy. So much to taste and see. So many ways to involve the senses and not just see words splatter on parchment.
There's God speaking. Who can hear? Who is listening? He spoke in the past, he spoke in the present. He spoke to many in many ways; now he speaks uniquely through One. And if we are wise, we listen to Jesus God's last voice to us. I am always skeptical when I hear people talking about how they have heard from God in an audible way because I'm just not certain we need to hear anything more than what he has already said in Jesus: In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.
There's God's radiance. Who can see God's glory? God's glory! I mean, shining, radiating, illuminating, and filling the universe! It's grand! It's magnificent. It's…glorious! And sometimes I hear people saying they need to see this or see that and here in these last days God has shown us what we need to see: His glory in Jesus!!
There's God's sacrifice. Who can feel the pain of his death? Who can smell the stench of dying men, the fetid odor of blood and violence spilled all around that hill outside Jerusalem? Who can feel the the cleansing, the purification, the overwhelming power of sin's grip being loosened and sting of its corruption being vanquished? And there is Jesus sitting at the right hand of God. God has shown us the finality of Jesus' work on our behalf and in his presence. Nothing more to add. Here is the Majesty of God on display in the person of Jesus.
All of this leads up to this spectacular finish (vss. 5-14) where it is so easy to get caught up in ideas about angels. I think his whole point is something like this: Forget about angels! Forget about miracles! Forget about power! Forget about sacrifice! Instead: Here is our King!! Here is Jesus! Think about Jesus. Forget about the kings of this world! Here is Jesus: God's voice, God's radiance, God's sacrifice, God's King! Everything we need to understand and know and feel and be and smell and see and hear is found in Jesus.
I love that the book of Hebrews opens the way the book of the Revelation does: with a grand sweeping vision of Jesus. Here in Hebrews 1 it's all about what the world looks like right now: Jesus is God's anointed (Psalm 2); Jesus is God's king (Psalm 2); Jesus is God's champion. All of the hopes and dreams and plans God has for this world, for this people, for his creation are summed up in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
So why oh why do we spend so much precious time searching for these things in other people and places? Why do we worry: "He upholds the universe by the word of his power." Oh, I want to be on the side with that sort of power: power to make the universe (1:2, 10), power to control the universe (1:3), power to rule the universe (1:8), power to bring the universe to its appointed end (1:12), and power to remake the universe, under Jesus' rule, (1:12).
And if God can do all that with this universe, with this world, how much more will he do so with us, his people? Think about it. No one else and no thing else has that sort of power.