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  • Writer's pictureRobert Hasler

Christ, Our Final Word

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Knowing Jesus as the authoritative Word.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 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. 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, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. –Hebrews 1:1-4

Ours is a time of great clamor. Social media has democratized heraldry such that anyone with a device and steady internet connection may play the part of the oracles of old. Combine boundless opportunity with a culture that searches endlessly for new answers that will free us from the tired and mundane and you get the kind of dizzying (and unquenchable) quest for Progress so many are accustomed to today.

For those dissatisfied with the click-bait cacophony, the search for truth feels like scrambling for the mute button while suffering a barrage of static. We desperately hope for something to break through the dissonance and fill our ears with the sweet sounds of enduring certainty.

In the beginning of the book of Hebrews, we are relieved to hear that our pleas fall not on deaf ears. God, the very King and Creator of the universe, has spoken to us and given us knowledge and assurance of the truth.

For a long time, the author of Hebrews says, God spoke through the prophets, divinely elected and tasked with revealing God’s will to his people. Yet, these prophets were often limited by their own sin and the sin of their audiences. Though sufficient for their time, there was always the expectation of a true and better prophet who would not only speak God’s word but write it on the people’s hearts (Deuteronomy 18:15; Jeremiah 31:33).

The author of Hebrews recognizes Jesus Christ as that superior prophet and hopes to convince his audience of the same. Importantly, however, the author does not make his case on the basis of a subjective value judgment as is so often the case today. Jesus is not the better prophet because he garners a larger or more distinguished audience. Nor is he the true prophet because the people resonate especially with his message. Rather, Jesus is the true and better prophet by right of his office: he is God’s own Son (v. 2).

In the remainder of the passage, the author explains all that Christ’s sonship entails. He is the “heir of all things” and the one through whom God created the world. Together, these give us a full breadth of the eschatological horizon. Jesus was there at the beginning of time, begotten not made, and the very Word of God that spoke all matter into existence (John 1:1-3). But Christ is the alpha as well as the omega (Revelation 1:8). He is the heir of all things, meaning he succeeds in the task Adam failed to accomplish and receives the new heavens and new earth as his inheritance. By faith, we are united to Christ and receive as co-heirs the inheritance of life from the New Adam just as we received the inheritance of sin and death from the Old Adam (Romans 8:17; 5:12-21).

Already, it is evident that Jesus is more than a mere human but something more which the author of Hebrews confirms in verse 3: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.”

Whoever looks at Jesus sees the very glory of God (John 14:9). He is the exact imprint of his nature, meaning Christ’s character and the character of God are one and the same. There being no substantive difference between the two, Christ speaks not simply as a mouthpiece of God but with the very same divine authority. Consider the Old Testament prophets who carefully prefaced their messages with the customary “thus saith the Lord.” Jesus’s words, however, are authoritative by virtue of his character: “You have heard it said, but I say to you.”

Verses 3-4 also reveal that Jesus is more than a prophet. He is also a priest (“making purification for sins”) and king, ruling the universe at the right hand of God. Jesus does not simply point to the way of salvation as the Old Testament prophets, priests, and kings did but is himself the way (John 14:6).

In Christ, we find the truth that so often eludes us in the myriad of voices competing for our attention. Do you seek clarity? Find it in the words and witness of Christ Jesus who invites you to walk in the good works which he has prepared for those born again in him (Ephesians 2:10). Do you long for intimacy? Receive the spirit of adoption as a son or daughter of the Father through Christ his Son (Romans 8:15-17). Do you desire wholeness? Find integrity in the freedom of the gospel which releases you from the bondage of sin (Romans 8:2).

For Christ is the final word. May his voice be a comforting sound all the days of your life.

Robert Hasler is the Project Leader of The Public Theology Project and a co-host of The Statement.


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