So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Hebrews 1:4 NIV
How do you answer the question of who Jesus is? We might rightly answer that he is the incarnate second person of the Trinity, the Son of God. That he is fully God and fully man. That he is our savior and redeemer. And all of that is true. But those simple answers, while true, do not tell the whole story.
The author of Hebrews goes to great lengths to tell us who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Much of his description is wrapped up in Old Testament references. But even more challenging is the idea of the Son becoming superior (Heb. 1:4), being crowned with glory (Heb. 2:9), being made perfect (Heb. 2:10; 5:9), or learning obedience (Heb. 5:8). How could any of those be true of one who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Heb. 13:8)?
There is, at least to me, an element of mystery in this. But it is all wrapped up in what happened on the cross. When Jesus provided purification for sins (Heb. 1:3), he became superior to the angels, much as his name was superior to theirs. While the angels are ministering spirits, sent to serve those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14), Jesus has become the savior and Lord of those the angels minister to.
Who Is Jesus?
So who is Jesus? He is God’s final word to us (Heb. 1:1-2). He is the creator and sustainer of all things (Heb. 1:2-3). And he is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s being (Heb. 1:3). But he is also one who took on humanity (Heb. 2:17), learned obedience in what he suffered, and became the source of eternal life for all who obey him (Heb. 5:8-9). And in doing so, Jesus became superior to the angels as well as all of the rest of the creation.
And now he is our brother (Heb. 2:11) and great high priest who intercedes with the Father on our behalf (Heb. 7:23-25). And through him, we now have access to the Father above (Heb. 10:19-22). While Jesus is beyond our full comprehension, he is all we need.