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Discussion Guide - Jesus Above the Angels (Hebrews 1:4-14)

 

 

 

DAILY READINGS

 

Monday: Hebrews 1:4-5; Psalm 2; 2 Samuel 7:1-17

Tuesday: Hebrews 1:5; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 13:32-34

Wednesday: Hebrews 1:8-9; Psalm 45

Thursday: Hebrews 1:10-12; 13:8; Psalm 90:2

Friday: Hebrews 1:13; Psalm 110; Acts 2:33-35

 

MAIN POINT

 

The Son is superior to angels.

 

SUMMARY

 

Angels were highly revered by the Jewish people. God had often used angels in the Old Testament to give his people guidance (Genesis 19:17), protection (Psalm 91:11), deliverance (Isaiah 37:35-37), and even judgment for their sin (2 Samuel 24:16-17). As one author writes: “When an angel spoke, people listened.”[1]

The Jewish Christians reading this letter were under pressure to renounce their faith in Jesus and return to Judaism. Maybe their opponents were arguing that since Jesus was a man, he was inferior to angels (and thus far inferior to God!). It’s possible the believers attempted to “compromise” by saying that Jesus was an angel greater than all other angels, but not God. We don’t know the specific pressures this church faced. Regardless, the author grabs their attention by showing them that the angels they so revere are inferior to the Son they’re tempted to walk away from.

To do this, he shows that the Old Testament itself teaches the Son’s superiority to angels. For one thing, God has never referred to an angel as his “Son” (v 5). Additionally, angels are commanded to worship him (v. 6). Angels are created beings (v 7), but the Son is eternal (vv 8-9). The Son created the world and never changes (vv 10-12). And the Son alone gets to sit at the Father’s right hand as ruler (v 13) while angels serve his people (v 14).

All this is building to a critical “Therefore” in Hebrews 2:1-4. But to feel the full force of that section, we need to grasp the unquestionable superiority of the Son to angels that the author argues for here.

 

DISCUSS

 

What does Hebrews 1:14 teach us about angels’ role in our lives? How often do you consider this?

In what ways does our culture today pressure us to downgrade Jesus from being truly God? If people aren’t comfortable saying that he’s God, who are they comfortable saying he is?

 

MEMORIZE

 

Hebrews 1:5 – “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’? Or again, ‘I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son’?”

 

Click here for a printable version of this discussion guide.

 

[1] Ray C. Stedman, Hebrews, IVP New Testament Commentary, p 26