The author of the New Testament book of Hebrews presents many arguments to prove emphatically that Jesus is better. And because he is so superior to anything else, we are exhorted to stick with him to the end, despite suffering or persecution.
1. Jesus is Better than Angels
Angels were very important in Judaism, primarily because multitudes of them assisted God in giving the Mosaic Law at Mount Sinai (Galatians 3:19). They also appeared occasionally to make very important announcements.1 However the author of Hebrews argues that:
The Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.Hebrews 1:4 NLT
- Jesus is the Son of God; the angels are “sons” (Ps 2:7).
- Jesus is the promised Son of David, the Messiah (2 Sam 7:14).
- Jesus is worshiped as the firstborn by the angels (Dt 32:43).
- Jesus is sovereign; the angels are his servants (Ps 104:4).
- Jesus rules as king eternal, unchangeable (Ps 45:6–7).
- Jesus is the creator of the world (Ps 102:25–27).
- Jesus sits and rules; the angels stand and serve (Ps 110:1).
In other words, Jesus is God. The angels merely serve him. They are his messengers, but Jesus is the Message of good news. Whatever angels do for you, Jesus is better.
Are you trusting in the servants more than the Son? Do you look to them as protectors and guides more than to Jesus? Jesus is better than all other messengers of truth.
2. Jesus is Better than Moses
The Israelites believed Moses to be the greatest man ever.
But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself.Hebrews 3:3 NLT
- Moses was a faithful servant in the household of God (3:5), but Jesus is Son over it (3:2).
- Moses testified of events to come but Jesus fulfilled those events.
- Moses was member of the household of God, but Jesus is creator of it (3:4).
- Moses received glory when he met God on Mt. Sinai, but Jesus received more glory in his baptism, transfiguration, and resurrection (3:3).
While Moses was faithful in many things, even he did not enter God’s rest, the promised land. All human leaders let us down at some point and in some way. But not Jesus.
Who do you consider to be the greatest person that ever lived? Who introduced you to God and taught you his ways? Jesus is better than your greatest hero or mentor.
3. Jesus is a Better High Priest
Israel’s high priests represented the people in matters related to God and offered sacrifices for sins. But Jesus is our Great High Priest (2:17, 4:14).
Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins…In this way, God qualified [Jesus] as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.Hebrews 5:1, 9 NLT
- Israel’s high priests (HP) were selected (Luke 1:9); Jesus was appointed by God (5:5).
- HP held an earthly position; Jesus ascended into heaven (4:14, 8:1).
- HP were priests only; Jesus was both priest and king just like Melchizedek (5:10).
- HP were weak, sinful men (5:2); Jesus is the perfect, sinless Son of God (4:15, 5:8–9, 7:28).
- HP offered sacrifices for themselves as well as the people; Jesus does not need to offer sacrifices for himself (7:27).
- HP’s sacrifices gave temporary absolution (7:27); Jesus gives eternal salvation (5:9).
- HP were from the tribe of Levi; Jesus was not (again like Melchizedek) (7:14).
- HP became priests based on ancestry; Jesus, based on his eternal existence (7:16).
- HP became priests without oaths; Jesus swore by his own name (7:20-21).
- HP all passed away (7:23); Jesus is a permanent priest (7:24).
- HP continually offered sacrifices (7:27); Jesus offered his life once for all (9:12).
Jesus is also sympathetic (4:15), merciful, faithful, gracious (4:16), and gentle (5:2). “Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (7:26).
Who represents God to you? Who or what do you trust to meet your needs? Jesus is better than your pastors and priests.
4. Jesus offers a Better Promise—Better Salvation
We are convinced of better things—the things that have to do with salvation … Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood…based on better promises.Hebrews 6:9 NIV, 8:6 NLT
- God promised a multitude of descendants to Abraham (6:14) but he promises atonement from sin for us (6:19–20).
- Just as others inherited God’s promise, so will we, if we imitate their faith and patience. (6:12)
- Just as his promise to Abraham was fulfilled, it will come true for us (6:15)
- His promise is sealed with an oath and it is impossible for God to lie (6:17–18)
- His promise is a firm and secured hope—an anchor for our soul (6:19)
Who, in your opinion, has demonstrated patience and faith in God’s promise of salvation? Who or what has promised you a firm anchor for your soul? Jesus offers a better promise of salvation than trying to be good enough to earn God’s favor.
5. Jesus guarantees a Better Covenant
Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God.Hebrews 8:6 NLT
- The Old Covenant (OC) was weak and useless (7:18); Jesus’s Better Covenant (BC) saves completely (7:25).
- OC had faults; BC is faultless (8:7).
- OC was dependent on human obedience (8:9); BC is dependent on God’s commitment (8:10).
- OC law was written on stone tablets; BC is written on hearts and minds (8:10, 10:16).
- OC was reserved for (corporate) Israel; the BC invites all (individuals) to know God (8:11).
- OC mandated continual sacrifices in order for sins to be forgiven (7:27); BC forgives sins and does not remember them ever again (8:12, 10:17).
- OC is now obsolete; BC will never be replaced (8:13).
- OC required many priests; BC has Jesus—the Great High Priest—as its mediator (9:15).
- OC was put into effect with blood from animals in an earthly tabernacle (9:18); BC with the blood of Jesus who sits in heaven (9:24, 28).
Jesus guarantees a better covenant (7:22)—one not dependent on our obedience but on Jesus, the Guarantor, who paid the debt of sin we defaulted on.
Who or what is your guarantee that God will accept you? Jesus guarantees a better covenant than the covenant with Moses or any bargain you make with God.
6. Jesus offers Better Hope
Hope is a joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.
For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.Hebrews 7:19 NLT
- This hope keeps us in God’s family (3:6).
- This hope helps us stick with Jesus until our last breath (6:11).
- This hope offers refuge and security, an anchor for our souls (6:18–19).
- This hope leads us confidently into God’s presence (6:19, 7:19).
- This hope is in a God who is faithful (10:23).
- This hope is the basis for faith (11:1).
Who or what do you put your hope in? JESUS offers better hope than what this world offers.
7. Jesus grants access to God through a Better Tabernacle
That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth… [Jesus] has entered that greater, more perfect [better] Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world.Hebrews 9:1, 11, NLT
- Israel’s tabernacle was earthly; the better tabernacle (BT) is heavenly (9:11, 24).
- It was made by humans; the BT is built by God (8:2)
- It was only a copy and shadow; the BT is the real system of worship in heaven (8:5).
- It had two rooms—the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place (MHP) separated by a curtain (9:2–3); in the BT the entrance to the MHP is freely open (9:8).
- It contained no chairs (9:2–4) because the priests’ work was never done; in the BT Jesus sat down at the right hand of God and declared his work finished (8:1).
- The High Priest entered the MHP every year and sprinkled it with the blood of animals to forgive sin (9:7, 21); Jesus entered the MHP only once and redeemed mankind (paid the penalty for sin) with his own blood (9:12).
“Christ entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf” (9:24 NLT).
Where do you go to meet with God? How do you get access to God’s presence? Jesus grants access to God through a better tabernacle than the Old Testament one or your preferred place of worship.
8. Jesus offers himself as a Better Sacrifice
For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as the perfect sacrifice for our sins … The real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.Hebrews 9:14, 23 NLT
- Tabernacle Sacrifices were made year after year as a reminder of sin (10:1, 3, 11); Jesus sacrificed himself once (9:12, 10:12).
- They took place in an earthly tabernacle; Jesus entered heaven itself appearing face to face with God (9:24).
- Animals were offered as a substitute for the sin of mankind (9:7); Jesus offered his own body; he became the sacrifice (9:12, 10:10).
- They had no external defect (Deut 17:1); Jesus is totally unblemished (9:14).
- Their blood gave partial redemption; Jesus’s redemption is eternal, for all time (9:12; 10:10).
- They were unable to cleanse consciences (9:9, 10:1) or remove sin (10:4); Jesus’s blood obtains eternal redemption (9:12) and purifies consciences from sinful deeds (9:14, 10:22).
- Everything was sprinkled with blood (9:21) to purify it because blood (a death) was necessary for forgiveness—a life for a life (9:22); Jesus died to set us free from the penalty of sin (9:15, 10:10).
“But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice” (9:26 NLT). Jesus’s better sacrifice delivers us from the penalty, power, and presence of sin.
What “sacrifices” are you making in order to please God? Jesus is a better sacrifice than anything we offer to God in exchange for our souls.
9. Jesus provides a Better Home—Country, Possessions, Resurrection
They were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them … You knew that you had better and lasting possessions … There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.Hebrews 11:16, 10:34, 11:35 NIV
- Our earthly home (EH) consists of goods, wealth, and property (Acts 2:45); our Better Home (BH) is an eternal inheritance (9:15).
- Our EH is a copy and shadow; our BH is the real place of worship in God’s presence (8:5).
- Our EH is not our permanent home; we look forward to our BH to come (13:14).
- Our earthly possessions can be confiscated; our BH is lasting (10:34).
- Our BH is prepared for us by God in heaven (11:16).
- Our BH is cleansed with Jesus’s perfect sacrifice (9:23).
- Our BH is shared with brothers and sisters (3:1), Jesus, our High Priest (4:14), and the Holy Spirit (6:4).
- Our BH is the heavenly Jerusalem, an assembly with angels and God’s children (12:22–23).
What home (country, possessions, resurrection) are you looking forward to? Jesus provides a better home in eternity than this earth.
Which of the author’s arguments helps you most to believe that Jesus is better and encourages you to persevere in the midst of your tough circumstances? Why?
Thank you Jesus! I declare again that you are superior, you are enough—you are worth sticking with until the very end. Along with the author, let us:
- make every effort to enter [God’s] rest (4:11).
- hold firmly to the faith we profess (4:14).
- approach God’s throne of grace with confidence (4:16).
- leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity (6:1).
- draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings (10:22).
- hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (10:23).
- consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds (10:24).
- not neglect our meeting together as some people do, but encourage one another (10:25).
- throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles (12:1).
- run with perseverance the race marked out for us (12:1).
- be thankful, and so worship God acceptable with reverence and awe (12:28).
- identify with him and bear his disgrace (13:13)
- offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise, proclaiming allegiance to his name (13:15).
Check my Instagram highlights (BETTER) for all the summaries I posted from my six month study of Hebrews.