The heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali styled himself as The Greatest. “I said I am the greatest even before I knew I was,” is an interesting quote of his. But even though in the opinion of many who have studied the sport that Ali was the greatest ever heavyweight, and he was certainly the greatest of his generation, there’s something about self proclaiming yourself as the greatest that just does not seem right. Arrogance is not a good character trait, even when it is earned.
The writer to the Hebrews does not have to face that problem. He (I am assuming it was a he) does not even say who he is. We call the book the epistle or letter to the Hebrews, but it reads more like a sermon up to the last chapter.
Let me divert a little from this theme to tell a joke.
A Sunday school teacher once asked her class, “What kind of animal climbs trees, has a bushy tail and stores nuts for the winter?”
A hand goes up.
“Miss, I know the answer is Jesus, but it does sound like a squirrel.”
In Sunday school the answer is always Jesus. That could be taking things a bit far, but Hebrews asks no question. Right from the start, before starting the who is the greatest debate it gives the answer. Jesus.
In the past, God spoke through the prophets to our ancestors in many times and many ways. In these final days, though, he spoke to us through a Son. God made his Son the heir of everything and created the world through him. The Son is the light of God’s glory and the imprint of God’s being. He maintains everything with his powerful message. After he carried out the cleansing of people from their sins, he sat down at the right side of the highest majesty. Hebrews 1:1-3
Before the debate begins we have the answer: The greatest is the one who cleansed people from their sins. Jesus.
There is no self aggrandisation in Hebrews, the author does not reveal who he is, the book is all about Jesus. That Jesus is the greatest is one of the major themes of the book.
40 blogs of lent day 4