Hebrews 1:1-4 (NIVUK)
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
This final verse from the week’s reading is a bit of a cryptic one! Why the sudden reference to angels? Angels figure quite a bit in the following text. To the Jewish readers of Hebrews, they were significant spiritual beings and God’s messengers, higher than us mere mortals. It was understood that it was angels who gave Moses the Law. As amazing as this is, through his self-giving love in his incarnation (stepping down to earth) and death which provided ‘purification for [our] sins’ (3), and his resurrection and ascension back up to God’s glory, Jesus became superior to them. What neither they nor their message (the Law) could not achieve, he did, and now he sits enthroned over them.
Jesus, the name high over all
In hell or earth or sky
Angels and men before it fall
And devils fear and fly
O, that the world might taste and see
The riches of His grace
The arms of love that compass me
Would all the world embrace