Hebrews begins ″as dramatically as a rocket shot to the moon″.3 It gets straight to the point in declaring the divinity of Christ and His identity as Prophet, Priest, and King like no other.
He is the Prophet who surpasses all prophets, the Priest who surpasses all priests, and the King who rules above all kings
Hebrews 1:1-3 gives us a crash course on Christology, teaching us the essential truths about Jesus. He is God's Son (v. 2), who was at the beginning when God made the universe through Him. He will also dominate the future because He is God's sole ″heir of all things″ (v. 2).4 He is no less than God, for He is the ″radiance of God's glory″ (just as the Sun and its rays are intimately related) and the ″exact representation of his being″ (v. 3). The latter phrase is a translation of the Greek word for ″character″-the printing tile that produces an exact reproduction of itself.5 Jesus sustains all things with His powerful Word (v.3; see Colossians 1:17). He is fully divine.
The three key leadership roles in ancient Israel were that of prophet, priest, and king. The author demonstrates that Jesus fulfils all three offices in an amazing way. He is the Prophet above all prophets, for God spoke in the past through His prophets, but now He ″has spoken to us by his Son″ (Hebrews 1:2). In Jesus, we hear God's final and complete word. Jesus has also ″provided purification for sins″ (v. 3). The sacrifices that the priests had to do repeatedly, Jesus has now done in one pivotal act on the cross, where He offered himself as the ″atoning sacrifice for our sins″ (1 John 2:2). Having accomplished this for our salvation, Jesus took His rightful seat at the right hand of the Father. He reigns over all as the King of kings.
The author thus declares that there is no one like Jesus. He is the Prophet who surpasses all prophets, the Priest who surpasses all priests, and the King who rules above all kings. He is far above even the very best that Israel has produced in its long history. We should consider Him seriously.
3Ray C. Stedman, Hebrews, IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 19.
4Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990), 39.
5Leon Morris, ″Hebrews″, in The Expositors Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 12 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 14.