Reader: “I will be his Father,
Response: “and he will be my Son.”
Scripture: Hebrews 1:5-14
For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus:
“You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.[a]”
God also said,
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son.”[b]
“Let all of God’s angels worship him.”[e]
Regarding the angels, he says,
“He sends his angels like the winds,
his servants like flames of fire.”[f]
But to the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
You rule with a scepter of justice.
You love justice and hate evil.
Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you,
pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.”[g]
He also says to the Son,
“In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth
and made the heavens with your hands.
They will perish, but you remain forever.
They will wear out like old clothing.
You will fold them up like a cloak
and discard them like old clothing.
But you are always the same;
you will live forever.”[h]
And God never said to any of the angels,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.”[i]
Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.
- Or Today I reveal you as my Son. Ps 2:7.
- 2 Sam 7:14.
- Or firstborn.
- Or when he again brings his supreme Son [or firstborn Son] into the world, God will say.
- Deut 32:43.
- Ps 104:4 (Greek version).
- Ps 45:6-7.
- Ps 102:25-27.
- Ps 110:1.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Commenting on this passage is a challenge because there is so much here, so I left the footnote references in. The book of Hebrews is a magnificent treatise on understanding Jesus in relation to the Old Testament. The better you know the First Testament, the more you will discover in this epistle. We mentioned yesterday the very high view the Jews had of angels and there was a very valid reason. For example, angels were divine messengers present in visiting Abram and Sarai, in the giving of the Law, at the tomb of Jesus, and at the ascension. The angels were to worship Jesus.
This passage is an argument for the superiority of Jesus, laid out almost as a court case. First, God the Father is the presenter commenting on his Son, then he comments on the angels, then on his Son, then on angels, then a concluding statement. It is also written as an inclusio, a literary device in which the beginning and ending of a section include the same material. (“God never said to any of the angels.”) I’ve also taken the liberty to include the footnote comments and references. The book of Hebrews quotes massive amounts of the Old Testament in demonstrating how Jesus fulfills and is superior in every way to various OT heroes. The writer begins right away telling his readers that God’s words to Jesus were unique. As lofty as angels were, they were not his Son. This translation uses the word “supreme” in reference to his Son. Sometimes it is translated elsewhere as “first born” which has to do with preeminence, placing him at the highest possible honor at the right hand (the strong hand) of the Father. This word, contrary to Jehovah Witnesses’ propaganda, has nothing to do with physical birth. (Col.1:18) Then there is the powerful statement from God commanding the angels to worship the Son. Then a few verses later, the Father calls the Son God and goes on to describe how he endures forever as creator and ruler over all creation. God’s comments on the person and role of his Son conclude with the invitation to sit in the place of honor at the Father’s right hand until the Father humbles all the enemies of the Son and they bow their necks under the feet of the Son. If that isn’t a strong enough case, the writer of Hebrews makes his concluding statement, “therefore, angels are only servants”―case closed! Readers, adjust your view of angels; Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand, his work completed.
Reading Jesus’ pedigree in this passage and throughout this remarkable epistle, makes the simple birth of a baby boy to a young mother in a nondescript rustic manger all the more awe-inspiring and mysterious. Who would have ever guessed the Son of God would enter this world in such a manner?
Music: “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” Chris Rupp and the Fox and the Hound
Bonus: Interesting fact. Chris Rupp a former member of Home Free (below) went out on his own (Infant Holy, Infant Lowly) though he still sings with Home Free sometimes.
“Angels We Have Heard on High” Home Free (I know, a repeat from other years. But in case you missed it then. This is really one of the best versions. Not over produced IMO.
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; so that on that last day, when he shall come again in glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, Amen.
―Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), Eerdmans’ Book of Famous Prayers, p.45
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