Jesus Is Better (Hebrews 1:1-14)

Week 1, Hebrews 1:1–14 Hook

Main Point: Jesus is better.

Group Activity: Today’s lesson emphasizes comparisons and determining values. Break your class into small groups, introduce the scenario in Appendix A, allow time for the groups to deliberate, and then collect their answers.

Discussion Questions

  • How did your team determine how to value items? Did you have a strategy?
  • When choosing among many good things in your life (how to spend your time, where tolive, career choices, etc.), what strategy do you use?
  • If you value Jesus above all else, how does that affect the way you make decisions?
  • Can a believer learn to value Jesus more? How does that happen?

Hebrews 1:1–14

Main Point: Jesus is better.

Text Summary

The first chapter of Hebrews opens with a majestic pronouncement of Jesus Christ’s supremacy. It lifts the head of the reader to look up and behold the Son of God with renewed clarity: His power, His glory and His excellence. With this perspective—with Jesus in our sights—we can properly launch into a book that (over and over) reminds us that Jesus is better.

Hebrews 1:1–9 (Read)
Sub Point: Jesus is better than the prophets and angels.

Jesus’ supremacy is established as He is compared to prophets and angels. The writer of Hebrews opens with focus and clarity. There is no greeting. No time for small talk. The writer speaks with a grab-you-by-the-shirt-collar urgency that shakes the reader with one resounding message—Jesus is better. The recipients of Hebrews had not been valuing Jesus in a proper way. To address this, the author focuses on how much better Jesus is than prophets and angels.

The readers of Hebrews had moved from Judaism to Christianity; they would have had a healthy respect for the prophets. Knowing this, the author declares Jesus as being better than the prophets.

How is Jesus better than the prophets? In previous days, God used the prophets to reveal specific messages to man. However, the prophets presented but a partial revelation; Jesus is the full revelation and perfect representation of God (John 14:9). The Old Testament was preparing man for Jesus; the message presented in previous days climaxed with the incarnation of Christ.

In order to help the recipients gain a healthier perspective on Jesus and His worth, the author spends the next verses identifying some relationships that only Jesus holds.1

Relationship of the Son to creation

Jesus is heir of all things (v. 2).
God worked through His Son to create (v. 2).

1 Max Anders, ed., Holman New Testament Commentary, Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 1999. p. 9

Relationship to the Father

Jesus is the radiance of the Father’s glory (v. 3).
The Son is an exact representation of the Father (v. 3).

Relationship to today

Jesus sustains the world (v. 3).

Relationship to redemptive work

The Son provides purification for sins (v. 3).
Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father (v. 3).

Moving from the prophets, Jesus is now compared to the angels (1:4). Why is Jesus better? The first reason regards the purpose of angels: they delivered specific messages from God to His people. Jesus is better because He is not only a messenger; He is the Message itself.

Jesus is better than the angels because of His title: Son of God (v. 5). He has cleansed us from our sins by His death, conquered our Enemy, and restored our relationship with the Father. We are now sons because He is Son. That makes His name better than any and every name we could ever utter. Verse 6 shares that the angels worship the Son, further exemplifying Christ’s divinity.

Verse 7 speaks of the majesty of the angels. It may seem strange that the author would cite the splendor of the angels, knowing that the thrust of the argument concerns the greatness of Christ. However, verse 10 speaks of Jesus’ hand in creation. If God created the angels in all of their splendor, then how much more incredible is Jesus than the angels!

While angels are made to carry out God’s will (and harken images of servants), Jesus is highlighted as ruler in verses 8 and 9. The ESV Study Bible addresses these verses in particular:

The quotation (Ps. 45:6–7) is from a psalm extolling the Davidic king. Only Jesus, as the Davidic Messiah (the anointed One), truly meets this description, since by reigning at God’s right hand (Heb. 1:3, 13) he possesses an eternal kingdom (forever and ever) and reigns in true righteousness (4:15; 7:26–28). Your throne, O God. The messianic Son is rightfully also called God, in this case by God the Father.2

The first nine verses of Hebrews affirm the greatness of Christ. The time spent comparing Jesus to prophets and angels gives today’s readers an insight into the original readers’ theological errors. They did not value Jesus as they should have; we must take heed of their blunders. Make it your endeavor to grow more and more in your knowledge of just how wonderful Jesus

2 Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2362.

is. As you do so with a tender heart, you will no doubt find yourself more in love and committed to the One who is better.

  • Of the seven ways that the text describes Jesus in 1:2–3, which one(s) stood out to you most? Why?
  • How did God communicate to man in the Old Testament? How did God communicate to man through Jesus? Why is Jesus better than the prophets?
  • What does it mean for Jesus to sustain the world? How does Jesus sustain you?
  • Describe the role of angels in the Bible. In what ways is Jesus better than the angels?Hebrews 1:10–14 (Read)
    Sub Point: Jesus is better than creation and all things.Jesus is described as eternal and sitting at the right hand of God. Angels are described as servants. The writer of Hebrews continues to assert Jesus’ supremacy by quoting Psalm 102:25–27 that heralds the Messiah as creator of earth and sky. And although creation is wonderful, Jesus is much better. The world, like a coat, will wear out; one day there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth. But Jesus never grows tired and He will never end. Jesus provides a stability that created things cannot.

    Finally, the author speaks to the authority of Jesus, quoting Psalm 110:1. In verses 13 and 14, the focus is on the position of Christ at the right hand of the Father, a place of power and privilege to which Jesus was exalted.3 The final victory is coming in which every enemy will be subject to Jesus. This role of authority is compared to that of the angels; while the Son is pictured as a ruling victor, the angels are given the role of servants to believers (identified as “those who are to inherit salvation” in verse 14).

    The close of the chapter directs the believer’s eyes to Jesus. Although creation is wonderful, it will not last. Although angels have a significant role in God’s kingdom, they are but servants compared to a king.

    Jesus has won the victory. Instead of becoming beaten by the trials of life, the believer should take confidence in the fact that Jesus’ work is complete. One day every enemy, including death, will be trampled by Jesus.

• If you were asked to describe the attributes of Jesus, what would your list look like (probable answers: He is loving, forgiving, kind, compassionate, etc.)? What do these attributes say about your faith life?

3 Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2362.

  • What are the attributes of Jesus described in these verses (possible answers: Jesus is unchanging and eternal; He will never grow tired; He is seated at the right hand of the Father; He has won the victory; He will be the conqueror of all enemies)? How should these attributes affect your faith life?
  • Read verses 10–12 again. Name some things that people value in this life that will eventually wear out (possible answers: money, power, fame, etc.). How does the believer begin to value them less and Jesus more?

Week 1, Hebrews 1:1–14 Took

Main Point: Jesus is better.

Often in our culture, we avoid describing one thing as better than another; what’s best for one may not be best for another. However, sometimes, there are definite and clear best choices. According to the United States Coast Guard, there is a definite answer for the hypothetical emergency posed at the beginning of this lesson. (See Appendix B for solution and explanation.)

Hebrews 1 declares one choice as best: Jesus. He is superior to angels (who serve Him), to prophets (who pointed to Him) and to Creation (which He made and will eventually be folded up). He has won the victory and is supreme.

Class Discussion: How can you ensure that Jesus’ value as being best is acknowledged in your family? In what areas of your life is Jesus competing for the highest position?

Lesson Conclusion: Hebrews is a powerful book that affirms that Jesus is better—better than prophets, angels, rituals, earth and sky. Jesus is better than all things!


Evaluate your perception of Jesus. Perhaps you are experiencing a dry season in your faith life. Allow Scripture, like Hebrews 1, to inform your picture of Jesus; He is more than a shepherd carrying a lamb on His shoulders. Pray this week that God would place a desire within you for His Word that you might more fully realize the supremacy and worth of Jesus.

Value Jesus above all other things. If Jesus is better, do not give undue attention to the unworthy. It appears that the recipients of Hebrews were enamored with the prophets and angels, and although these are wonderful things, they are not better than Jesus; He is supreme.

Are you assigning something more value than it is worth? Your job, reputation, success, finances, the opinions of others, etc. are incomparable to Christ.

Choose the best thing. For some, it is time to move the reality of Christ’s supremacy from the head to the heart. If Christ is to be valued above all else, then be bold when it is time to make decisions concerning your job, home, finances, leisure time, and all areas of your life.

Release your problems to Jesus. Hebrews 1 serves to adjust our perspective by lifting our eyes from earthly struggles to heavenly truths. It’s in seeing Jesus’ faultlessness that our imperfect lives come into focus. Not only is it by Him that the whole universe is held together, but it is by Him that you and I are held together. Every problem presented to Jesus in prayer can be placed under His feet and you and I share in Jesus’ victory, as we believe in His supremacy over our day-to-day lives.

Appendix A Class Handout


Your team of four chartered a yacht; none of you have experience sailing. A fire breaks out and the boat’s crew has been lost at sea. Your vessel is sinking; vital navigational equipment and the radio have been damaged. According to your best estimate, you are 1,000 miles southwest of the nearest land. You are in the Pacific Ocean but uncertain of your exact location. Among all members on your team, you find three boxes of matches and three $5 bills. Fifteen items were salvaged from the boat but you only have room for five of them in the emergency raft. Prioritize the value of the items and determine which five items you will keep.

1. A sextant (A sextant is an astronomical instrument used to determine latitude and longitude at sea by measuring angular distances, especially the altitudes of sun, moon, and stars.)

2. A shaving mirror
3. A quantity of mosquito netting
4. A five-gallon can of water
5. A case of army rations
6. Maps of the Pacific Ocean
7. A floating seat cushion
8. A two-gallon can of oil/petrol mixture 
 9. A small transistor radio
10. 20 square feet of plastic tarp
11. Shark repellent
12. Five baseball caps
13. A 15-foot nylon rope
14. 2 boxes of chocolate bars
15. A fishing kit

Appendix B Scenario Solution

According to the U.S. Coastguard, the best chance of survival in this scenario is to attract the attention of potential rescuers. Navigation articles will be of little help because it is unlikely that the life raft would be capable of making the journey to land; in the unlikely chance that the life raft held the potential to make the journey to land, one could not store enough food and water to make the voyage. Signaling for rescue is the best hope (most sea rescues occur within the first 36 hours of the event). With that knowledge in mind, below are the most significant items to salvage.

1. Shaving mirror – critical for signaling
2. Two-gallon can of oil/petrol mixture – critical for signaling; the mixture will float on water

and can be ignited with one of the $5 bills and a match
3. Five-gallon can of water – necessary to replenish fluids lost through perspiration
4. One case of army rations – basic food intake
5. Plastic tarp – can be utilized to collect rain water and provide shelter from the elements