The writer of Hebrews, in the classic rhetorical style of his day, establishes in the first few verses the solid foundation for everything he wishes to say. To paraphrase, all the speakers prior to Jesus, be they men or angels, ultimately fall short of “Son.”
The implications of this one truth are enormous beyond full comprehension! The “fathers,” “prophets,” and “angels” all spoke truth, they were all commissioned by God, and they all added necessary “snapshots” of the greatest coming event in the history of the world. Nevertheless, all of them and the sum total of every God-breathed word they revealed could not remotely equal God’s Son!
The Father had previously spoken quite powerfully to the status of His Son, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased, listen to him” (Matt. 17:5, ESV). However, the transfiguration event could only whet the appetite for what would follow. Though we have a much better understanding than did Peter in that overwhelming moment, the challenge to take in such truth remains formidable.
The implications of the original wording of Hebrews’ mighty opening salvo again come to our aid. The Greek language has no indefinite article and there is no definite article before “Son.” At times supplying either “a” or “an” is useful in translation. Here, however, such an addition would detract from the intended power of the point.
In some cases the absence of the article is used to stress quality over specificity. This is just such a case. As “Son” Jesus has the quality of God the Father. He represents God as God (Jn. 1:1). He is much more than just a spokesman; He has the quality of the speaker himself.
John’s Gospel is alive with the idea of Jesus’ perfect convergence with the Father (Jn. 5:19, 30; 6:38; 8:28; 12:49; 14:8–10; 17:21–23). Jesus could do nothing unlike the Father for he was in perfect harmony and shared nature with God (Col. 1:19; 2:9; II Cor. 5:19).
A messenger has limited understanding of his message and certainly a detachment from the one who commissions him (I Pet. 1:11). Jesus, however, is the message and the messenger in a completely unique way (Jn. 1:1–3). The one who is himself the solution to the ancient “mystery” paid us a visit (Col. 1:24–29). The “yes” and “amen” to everything was a person who was God (II Cor. 1:20). We have been blessed!
Edwin Jones serves as the Dean of Admissions for Southeast. Email Edwin at firstname.lastname@example.org.