Preeminence By Motion (Promised)
1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
Two items are clearly presented to us at the beginning of the book of Hebrews,
The first is that Jesus Christ is preeminent above all things, no angel, no glory, no saviour and no judgement is given to any, other than Christ.
All is his and all will be his.
The second items we can notice is that he is both saviour and judge, preeminent above and over all.
Verse 3 identifies him as the only one to purge our sins, verse 8 sees him with his ruling sceptre and verse 9 identifies him as a lover of righteousness and hater of sin (iniquity). He condemns the sinner, but has the power to pardon him.
Jesus Christ is the one who sits at “the right hand of the Majesty on high”, the one who is made “so much better than the angels”, and by inheritance “obtained a more excellent name than they” and is the “heir of all things”.
This is the PREEMINENCE OF CHRIST, he is before all things in in him “all things consist”, so the question to you is, why go to man to look for hope?
If Christ is all in all, if he is both Saviour, Redeemer and Counsellor, why go you to the weak and beggarly things of the world to find hope?
Every year there is a new book, a new personality, a herb and spice, new way in the world to find comfort and peace, hope and joy, and to them many go and find at best a temporary fix for their pain and trouble, but why do YOU GO THERE when you have CHRIST?
Beloved, the people of the world are even now understanding that hope is not going to be found in man. Where will you point them if Jesus is NOT preeminent in your life as he is testified to in the scriptures?
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
In verse 8, This is the father speaking to the “Son” and testifies Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
An incredible passage quoted from Psalm 45:6-7, a passage that simply must have sent the Jews around the twist trying to understand how it can be that the Son is preeminent with the father testifying to the everlasting nature of his Son’s throne.
There is nothing in this world that will not perish, not the foundations of the earth laid by Christ from the beginning, not even the heavens that are the work of his hands, “They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”
And so as you look to help those who come to you and are so deeply troubled, filled with fears and anxieties, doing damage to those around them and even to themselves, sorrow fills their heart, fear grips their spirit, where will you direct them? Will it be to the ignorant posturings of psychology or Christ? I’ll tell you where, it will be to that which is preeminent to you?
In verse 9, God had anointed Christ with the “oil of gladness above thy fellows”, the glad heart will never come from herbs and spices, it will never come from a man compassed with his own infirmity and sin, at least nothing lasting ever will; the oil of gladness is in Christ who is PREEMINENT BY MOTION (BY PROMISE) and above all!
Preeminence By Merrit
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
This is one of the first passages in the Bible that clearly speaks of the preeminence of Christ. There are many people who have believed that chapter 53, the most famous Old Testament picture of Messiah, giving his life as a ransom for the world, should have really started here in verse 13 of chapter 52. I certainly am far from qualified to say anything on that matter, but I am qualified to say what the text says, and that this passage in Isaiah 52 is speaking of Christ, for he alone “shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high”. Christ alone is preeminent above all things and the passage presents him as PREEMINENT BY MERRIT.
Christ is PREEMINENT, not simply because of a born position, he did not inherit preeminence only by his noble birth, but he earned it, it is BY MERRIT.
3 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; …
Here we are told of the appearance of Christ, a PICTURE of the trouble that the Lord endured for the sons of men.
Beloved, though I am not going to enter into some of the most graphic postulation of the sufferings of Christ, I do need to expound somewhat on those things spoken of directly in the scriptures. Many have taken account of his trials and it is far too much for me to consider, save a handful of those items that help explain the matters of the scriptures. I want to show that Jesus Christ is PREEMINENT BY MERRIT and not only because his is GOD MANIFEST IN THE FLESH.
Turn back a little to chapter 50;
4 The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. 5 The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. 6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
A passage well known to speak of the messiah (the Christ) and gives to us a hint of the state of his “visage”.
The degenerate men who dealt with our Lord during his mock trials, as he was taken from place to place. Yes, they pressed into his scalp a crown of thorns, yes they beat him as he gave his back to them, and the shame of spitting he did not turn away, but it was his cheeks he gave them as they tore on his beard and plucked off the hair.
As I am a man with a beard, I cannot comprehend what that would be like.
As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
As his visage was.. marred more than any man, Christ is evidently PREEMINENT BY MERRIT.
Turn back further in your Bibles to Psalm 22
A passage that was written and TAKEN directly from the view of Christ as he hung on the cross, yet written a thousand years earlier;
12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
We might wonder at the sight as we look and stare upon Jesus in the eye of our imagination. We might wonder at his visage. The New Testament describes the scourging he endured at the hand of the Romans as his body was lashed with bone and metal fragments tied to the cords.
Little doubt his “strength was dried up like a potsherd”, he describes himself as a broken piece of pottery, dry and without strength to contain anything.
He carried his own cross at least part way to the place of his execution and once there “they pierced my hands and my feet”, described in Psalm 22:16. Jesus was judged, humiliated, scourged and then crucified. Hands and feet pierced.
Another incredible consideration as we know Psalm 22 was written a few hundred years before the invention of Crucifixion by the ancient Persians, and yet we have it here described.
When the Bible speaks of “The hands” it refers to the area from the finger tips to the elbow, when it speaks of the “Palms of the hands” as it does in describing the remains of Jezebel in 2 Kings 9:35, it refers to the hand itself. The piercings therefore were attended to through the wrist to ensure the individual was well secured to be hung without the need of ropes.
Many years ago I worked in an abattoir and before that for my father in his butcher shop; one hook well placed secured the body to hang on a rail in place, no ropes needed. The Romans Soldiers, and Persians before them, were butchers and efficient executioners, they knew how to secure a body.
The nails first through the wrists, one for each arm on the cross beam. Another third nail would secure both feet through the joint and heal, to the upright beam.
Death would generally come slowly, not quickly. The torments Jesus endured before however, witnessed him “give up the ghost” much sooner than usual, surprising even the governor (Mark 15:44).
While our Lord hung, he beheld the people, Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
The New Testament speaks of them arguing around him, awaiting some miracle as he hung there.
40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.
It was as if they salivated at his suffering and looked earnestly for his death. In their mind they had forgotten the scriptures which teach of his dying for their sins. They lost the consideration of Isaiah’s writing;
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
And so as he hung, pressing himself up by his nailed feet in order to exhale his breath, we read in verse 14;
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
Though not a bone of him was broken, he can “tell all his bones” (v17), they were indeed pulled out of joint and we learn more that his PREEMINENCE is EARNED, it is by MERRIT.
Finally he tells of the dryness of his mouth as he hung, and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
They gave him vinegar to drink rather than water when he said he thirsted. He looked down and beheld the people again, prayed that the father would forgive them for “they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34) and noticed them staring at him, saw them also gambling for his clothing as; 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
Which we see written of immediately after he prayed the Father would forgive them in Lk 23:34;
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
When Jesus walked on the Emaus road after his resurrection and accompanied some sorrowful disciples on that third day after his crucifixion, he opened to them the scriptures and said Luke 24:26
26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
Jesus is PREEMINENT BY MERRIT
Preeminent In Majesty
38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. 39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. 42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
We see that from eternity past God had promised to the son that he would be preeminent over all. IT WAS BY THE MOTION AND MANDATE OF God alone to make his Son PREEMINENT OVER ALL.
We have also seen that the Preeminence of Christ was BY MERRIT, and not just given, Jesus EARNED his PREEMINENCE BY ALL HE SUFFERED, and as he suffered more than any man and died the death that man should have died for the sins of man, he became PREEMINENT ABOVE ALL MEN, and that by MERRIT.
(There is no man more innocently condemned than Christ who bore our sins on that cross. Every stripe, every hair plucked from his cheeks, every thorn pressed into his scalp, was for you and I.)
But now we see him testify to his PREEMINENCE IN MAJESTY, he is the “great I Am” of the Old Testament and claims to be greater than all those the Jews had since desired.
The examples Jesus gives to the jews are not examples they would appreciate, they are examples that CONDEMN THEM.
It was not a city of Israelites that repented at the preaching of Jonas, but a city of wicked gentiles, men and women who were ignorant to the scriptures, ignorant to the law, ignorant to the promised coming of the Messiah, 120,000 people who could not discern between their right hand and their left we are told in Jonah 4:11.
These turned from their evil at the preaching of Jonas, but Jesus claims “and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here”.
He is PREEMINENT IN MAJESTY
But the Lord continues in the passage and speaks of the Queen of Sheba who came to listen to the words of Solomon. She travelled a long distance only for his reputation. She gave great gifts for the privilege of an audience with the King.
No, again it was not a prudent Jewish lawyer or leader, it was not even a male king that Jesus testified of, but a queen was lined up against them, and not even one close by, but one that came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, which she gained only by reputation;
and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
Christ evidently PREEMINENT IN MAJESTY
Why is it that we sometimes try and help people who are struggling, with the wise counsellors of this world when we have one greater than Solomon to lead people to?
The Queen of the South came from the uttermost parts of the earth for the wisdom of Solomon, we have one greater than Solomon, but direct people back down south where they came from!
There are no hurts to be healed that he could not heal, and we KNOW this beloved!
We know Jesus is the Counsellor of Isaiah 9:6,
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
He heals and he holds, brings the peace that “passeth understanding”, and in him is life, but without him there is no life (1 Jn 5:12). If in Christ are bound all that pertains to life, why do we continually look for answers somewhere else?
Do we forget that is the counsels of a lost world that has led so many people to their despair to begin with? Then why, if their trouble is by the world and in the world, do we lead people back to the world for the answers?
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
To John the Baptist all the people of Jerusalem came, and he ministered to them, yet he testified to the preeminence of Jesus compared both to him and to that of the world;
28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. 32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. 33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.
That was the preeminence of his counsel, but what of his judgement?
41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
Turn to the book of Jonah for a moment. (Middle of your bible and turn right, after the major prophets, after Daniel, Amos, the tiny book of Obediah….to Jonah)
So often the part we don’t like to talk about judgement with people and yet it is a priority in the passage.
Sin is the bane of a life lived poorly, but it is also the affliction of us all.
It has consequences that often go well beyond that which sinners intend, those consequences can endure for a short time, like an injured limb after a silly stunt, or they can endure for a generation, like the violation of a persons body.
The Ninevites were an evil people who celebrated some of the most horrific acts imaginable against their victims. Jonah did not want to preach there, he knew of their horror and did all he could to escape the responsibility. He knew God would forgive them and he was angry at the thought of even giving them a chance.
Three days was his journey through the city, and he gave the bare minimum he was required to do by God;
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
That was it.
Nothing more was said. He had no intention of trying to convince the people why they should repent. He had no real desire to warn them. We know this because of chapter 4, turn there, as this is an amazing little book;
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
And how did Jonah feel about God repenting of the evil he intended to do, now that they repented?
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. 2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. 3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
We find ourselves far too often trying to butter peoples bread on both sides before we would warn them of the consequence of their own sin.
People do not like to be told that their depression or anxiety might have sin as its substance. They want to believe it’s something else that perhaps a shrink or herb and spice could help. NO it’s not!
People want to blame their jobs for their sorrow, no. They want to blame their circumstances for their depression (no doubt some may be justified, but no), their lack of hope is their lack of the God of Hope and sin rips away all semblance of joy and peace.
The men of Nineveh were happy to ignore their sin, but not at the cost of consequence. All they heard was the consequence, “yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown” and 120,000 people repented and God forgave them.
1 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
Don’t be afraid to give Jesus the Preeminence, there is soon coming a time when he returns as a lion not a lamb, and people need to know.
Preeminent In Might
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
I mentioned earlier that John the Baptist had all the people of Jerusalem come out to see him and submit themselves to what the Bible refers to as the “Baptism of Repentance”. In this the people acknowledged their sin in the hope of their sin being washed away.
But in the passage here in Matthews gospel, John testifies as he did in the previous letter, but adds some content and context.
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
MIGHTY TO SAVE
John’s statement shows that Jesus is Preeminent in MIGHT. There are none with the power to save as he can save. John is limited in the waters of repentance, Christ however has the power to save and thereby baptise with the Spirit of God.
We underestimate far too often the power of God to save a man, just as we so often do underestimate the power of God to heal and transform a man.
Those who are troubled we too often try to lead to the ways of man to “Fix” them and negate that Jesus Christ is Preeminent in MIGHT to heal, to save, to transform, to sanctify and to glorify.
In Paul’s explanation to the Gentiles concerning the perfect work of the Gospel, he speaks of his ministry in the Gospel to the Gentiles as compared to that of Peter to the Jews, saying in;
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
This “Might” that is spoken of is the might to save a soul from hell because of the finished work of Christ on the cross.
Beloved, there is NO OTHER NAME that a person can be saved under. NONE. It does not matter how many wise people this world puts up, NONE ARE MIGHTY TO SAVE!
The second half of
Isaiah 49:26 says
26 ….: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
That passage tells of the entire world knowing that it is the LORD who can save and redeem, none else. HE IS PREEMINENT IN MIGHT.
Again, the latter half of;
16 …: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
This now speaking, not of the worlds knowledge of the MIGHT of the LORD to Save and Redeem, but Israel herself!
1 Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
There are none who can do so beloved, there simply is not name in heaven or in earth that has the might to save a soul OTHER than Jesus Christ he is PREEMINENT IN MIGHT.
Peter was filled with the Spirit of God when he was questioned by the rulers of the people, and he warned them of their setting aside Jesus Christ from them saying;
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
MIGHTY TO CONDEMN
But that passage in Matthew quoting John the Baptist did not only relate to the might of Christ to save, but also to condemn;
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; (Save) but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Condemn).
BOTH ELEMENTS ARE SPOKEN OF BY JOHN;
None in heaven or earth have the might to both SAVE and CONDEMN, Only Christ has the Preeminence for both.
Turn to John 5 for the explanation;
22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
When you have some time, go back to those passages in Isaiah that I mentioned earlier and read the full verse and passage. Each reference to the mighty power of the Saviour to save and redeem ALSO contains his power to judge and condemn.
Isaiah 49:26, 60:16 & Isaiah 63:1-6.
ALL OF US WERE DEAD IN TRESPASS AND SINS. There were none righteous. No not one. We all like sheep have gone astray and each one of us turned to our own way.
But the Bible says “and the LORD hath laid on HIM the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6)
It wasn’t some famous You Tube sensation that could help our condition. Not some great recent author that just come up with ‘how we can rid our lives of the guilt of our sin’.
Many years ago I spoke to a Christian man who was previously a Psychologist, he confirmed that the primary work he had was to HIDE GUILT, suppress it and cover its effects, not to deal with it. Guilt cannot be dealt with by the one through whom the LORD hath laid on HIM the iniquity of us all.
Beloved, I was long ago a broken and condemned man and without hope in the world. NOT FOR LACK OF TRYING. I wanted to know the TRUTH of my state, and Jesus answered.
Do you want to know the truth of your state? Jesus is the only answer.
Preeminent By Promise
Preeminent By Merit
Preeminent In Majesty
Preeminent In Might
Today is the day of salvation, today is the day also for Christians to turn back to Christ, PREEMINENT OVER ALL!