Who really was Jesus?

who really was jesus

Hebrews 3:3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.

In time, a work of art by a great artist gains enormous value because of its creator’s reputation. Even a musty notebook full of scratchings, if found to be Leonardo da Vinci’s, would suddenly be worth millions of dollars. Similarly, every house designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright retains high value simply because of his name.

To dramatize his argument that Christ is superior to any religious system, the author of Hebrews uses an analogy: Which has greater honor, the builder of a house or the house itself? Obviously, the builder has more honor; the house is just one expression of his genius.

In a Category by Himself

Likewise, Hebrews says, Christ has more honor than anyone else on earth. As Creator of the universe, he actually designed and made all people (1:2). That puts him in a different category of greatness, far above Moses, Aaron and other Jewish heroes.

“Therefore . . .” Hebrews urges, “fix your thoughts on Jesus” (3:1). He deserves all respect and allegiance. By becoming human, Jesus learned firsthand the temptations and sufferings that people undergo, so that he can now represent us accurately to God (4:14–15). The author goes on to prove that Jesus fulfilled all of the Old Testament requirements. He was the one priest who could permanently bring together God and the human race (7:23–27). And, as God Incarnate, he had the power through his death to remove the final barrier of sin between God and humankind (9:11 –15).

Free Access to God

Over time, the author argues, God chose various ways to reveal himself: in creation, through the prophets and by the Old Testament Scriptures. But the final, complete self-expression culminated in his Son. Jesus is the One worthy of honor.

Because of Jesus, we no longer have to approach God through a priest, as the Israelites did. Christ’s work makes God available to all who have faith in him. And God no longer dwells in an elaborately designed temple; we have become his house (3:6), his work of art.

Life Questions

People sometimes say about Jesus, “I don’t believe he was God, but he was a very fine man— like Gandhi or Buddha.” What arguments does the author of Hebrews use to contradict this?

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Content adapted from the bestselling NIV Student Bible, which is specifically designed to help readers understand and navigate the Bible text with tools like the Subject Guide, Highlights and Insights, and 3-Track reading plan. In the Guided Tour, author Philip Yancey takes readers on a journey through the Bible, highlighting important passages that show how the Bible is connected from Genesis all the way to Revelation.

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