Delivered as a pre-communion message at Woodland Christian Church on April 15, 2018.
A few weeks ago, my two-year old daughter was listening to the rest of my family talk about Jesus. Excited to share her own thoughts, she piped up, like she is known to do, and proclaimed that “Jesus is an angel”. The conversation stopped immediately so that my wife and I could correct her by reading from the first chapter of the book of Hebrews, in which Christ is heralded as “so much better than the angels”. That Hebrews begins with this correction and spends an entire chapter on it always intrigued me. Apparently more than a few people in history have been confused on this point, and not without reason.
The angels are no spiritual lightweights, after all. Those who did not join Lucifer in his rebellion submit to God perfectly. They have been tasked with some of the most important missions in history, such as announcing the birth of the Messiah and fighting the army of Satan in the last days. They minister to persecuted saints, including rescuing Peter from Herod’s prison. They assist in evangelism, sending Peter to Cornelius and Philip to the Ethiopian. Christ spoke highly of their knowledge, noting that not even the angels know the time of his second coming. Lastly, it is angels, and not humans, that God has chosen to surround his very throne, day and night, to worship him in his holiness.
And still Hebrews says that Christ is “so much better than the angels”. It is Jesus that God spoke through in the last days. It is Jesus through whom God the Father appointed heir of all things, made the world, and upholds all things by the word of his power. It is Jesus whom God commands the angels worship. It is Jesus whose throne is declared forever and forever and whose scepter is the scepter of righteousness. All of these things give Jesus a more excellent name than the angels will ever have, which is “Son of God” and the name “Jesus” itself.
The name “Jesus” literally means, “The Lord saves.” The ministry of salvation is a ministry given to God alone. Just as Hebrews states that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin, nor can an angel ever take away sin since they are spirits and have no blood at all. Only God coming in the form of a man, in the likeness of Adam, can qualify an all-sufficient savior. As we proceed to communion, let us thank God that he did leave the spiritual realm to take on flesh, purge our sins, and become so much better than the angels.