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Hebrews 1:1-4 NOTES

Hebrews 1:1-4 - EXEGESIS

CONTEXT:  The author identified neither himself nor the people to whom he was writing.  However, the content of the book, including the frequent references to the Hebrew Scriptures, makes it clear that he was writing to Jewish Christians who were sorely tempted to leave the Christian church and revert to Jewish worship.  There were a number of reasons why these Jewish Christians might have been tempted to return to Judaism:

  • Families and friends surely pressured them. This could have taken many forms--expressions of disapproval, shunning, disinheritance, etc.
  • They would have missed the elaborate rituals and furnishings of the Jewish Temple and the synagogues. Christians didn't have church buildings in those days, but met in the homes of fellow Christians. Compared to Jewish worship, Christian worship must have seemed spare--even poor.
  • Those who had enjoyed special status in Judaism would miss the prestige and influence that they once enjoyed. Luke tells us that "a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith" (Acts 6:7). Whether they could have become Jewish priests again is open to question, but some would likely be tempted to return if they thought that would be a possibility.

The author spends the first ten and a half chapters of this thirteen chapter book (1:1 - 10:18) emphasizing the superiority of Christ and the new covenant to Moses and the old covenant.  In chapters 1-2, he focuses specifically on the superiority of Christ to angels.


NOTE ON ANGELS:  Angels are God's messengers (Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 1:1), but are not God.

  • They are part of the created order, and not the creator (Colossians 1:16).
  • They are subject to judgment for wrongdoing (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6).
  • Paul says that humans will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).
  • Angels deserve respect (1 Corinthians 11:10; 1 Timothy 5:21). In the created order, people were created "a little lower than the angels" (2:7, 9) but Christ is far superior to angels (1:4-13; 1 Peter 3:22).
  • Thus, we should worship God, rather than angels. To worship angels is to run afoul of the First Commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 2:3; see also Matthew 4:10).
  • Gnostics worshiped angels as intermediaries between God and humans--but the author of Colossians warned that angel worship could result in their disqualification for the prize of Christ (Colossians 2:18).
  • God consigned sinful angels to hell and darkness "until the judgment" (2 Peter 2:4, 11; Jude 1:6).
  • At the end of time, the dragon (Satan) and his angels will make war against Godly Michael and his angels--but they will neither prevail nor find a home in heaven (Revelation 12:7-8).

The worship of angels is still a problem today.  Angels appear on television and in movies.  They are popular images for notecards.  There are collectible angels.  While those things can be harmless, they also have the potential to segue into a form of idolatry.

Popular media today portray angels as lovely, delicate, and feminine, but Biblical writers either cite masculine names for angels or give no clue to their gender.  Angels were often fearsome.

As is true with many things, we need to be careful lest we be seduced by the popular culture.  We need to insure that we are worshiping God and not angels--the creator and not the creation--the Supreme Being instead of one of his messengers. 



God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

"God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways" (v. 1).  A key feature both of Judaism and Christianity is God's revelation to humans.  God revealed himself and his will in various ways.

  • On many occasions, God spoke DIRECTLY to a person, as he did to Abram (Genesis 12:1) and Moses (Exodus 3:5).
  • God spoke through DREAMS (Genesis 31:10-13) and VISIONS (Genesis 15:1).
  • God sent ANGELS to deliver his message (Genesis 16:10-11).
  • God spoke through the TORAH, which prescribes proper relationships between people and God, people and each other, as well as certain religious behaviors (such as keeping the Sabbath) and rituals intended to honor God and to expiate sin.
  • God spoke through SCRIPTURES of various types (history, poetry, prophecy, etc.)--in both Old and New Testaments.
  • The STORIES of God's interaction with people as found in scripture are of special interest, because they so easily capture our attention and are so profoundly memorable and instructive.
  • God spoke through the PROPHETS, to whom God revealed secrets that had been hidden--and whom God called to proclaim guidance, judgment, and salvation. The largest body of prophetic revelation is found in the books of the prophets, from Isaiah through Malachi. However, there were other significant prophets, such as Samuel, whose stories are found elsewhere (1 Samuel 3; 8).  Prophetic revelation is the particular revelation mentioned in this verse.


"has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son" (v. 2a).  Note the parallelism.  In the past, God spoke through the prophets (v. 1), but now speaks through the Son (v. 2).

The phrase, "at the end of these days," could be interpreted in several ways, but in this context probably means the new age brought into being by Christ, who will bring both judgment and salvation..

While the other forms of revelation were powerful and instructive, God's ultimate revelation came through his Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).  Jesus was God made visible, superseding every other form of revelation.


"whom he appointed heir of all things" (v. 2b).  This is the first of two things in this verse that demonstrate the superiority of Christ, God's Son.

An heir is a person who has the legal right to an inheritance.  Jewish law regulated inheritances, giving two shares to the firstborn son and one share each to the other sons (Deuteronomy 21:17).

God's first family was the nation of Israel (Romans 9:4-5).  God said, "Israel is my son, my firstborn" (Exodus 4:22)--and "I will be (Israel's) father, and he shall be my son" (2 Samuel 7:14).

Paul says that Christ's disciples have become "joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:14-17)--the result of God adopting us into his family (John 1:12-13; Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 3:16; 4:4-6; Ephesians 1:5; Revelation 21:7).  Now, the author of Hebrews, tells us that God has appointed his Son "heir of all things" (1:2).


"through whom also he made the worlds" (v. 2c).  This is the second thing in this verse that demonstrates the superiority of the Son.  Not only did the Father appoint the Son as heir of all things (v. 2b), but the Son was present at the creation--intimately involved in the creation of all that is.

  • Note the phrase "let us" in the creation story (Genesis 1:26) and the account of Babel (Genesis 11:7).

The Gospel of John traces the Word back to the very beginning--before time--before the creation of the world.  The Word was not part of the creation--was not created--but stood with God before the creation.  This is important, because it is contrary to the prevailing Jewish thought of God working alone in creation.

  • The Prologue to John says:  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made" (John 1:1-3).
  • Jesus prayed, "Now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world existed" (John 17:5).
  • Paul uses similar language--"for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created... all things have been created through him and for him (Colossians 1:16).
  • Now the author of Hebrews speaks of a Son, "through whom also he (God) created the worlds (1:2).


"His Son is the radiance of his glory" (v. 3a).  Glory is characteristic of God, and refers to God's awe-inspiring majesty.  God shared this glory with Jesus.  Jesus' glory was revealed at the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36) and his death and resurrection (Luke 24:26).

  ▪ At the parousia (the Second Coming), Jesus will return "in a cloud with power and great glory" (Luke 21:27).  At that time, "at the name of Jesus every knee (will) bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue (will) confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:10-11).


"the very image (Greek:  charakter) of his substance" (v. 3b).  Elsewhere in the New Testament, the Greek word that is translated "image" is eikon (from which we get our word "icon").  This is the only place where charakter appears.

  ▪ The Greeks used the word charakter (from which we get our word "character") to speak of an engraved image that could be used to create an exact replica of the original.  Thus it is especially appropriate in this verse to describe the Son, whose character exactly replicated that of the Father.


"and upholding (Greek:  phero) all things by the word of his power" (v. 3c).  The Greek word phero means "to bear up" or "to govern" or "to direct."

  ▪ It's interesting that this verse has the Son bearing up "all things by the word of his power."  That brings to mind God's creative power, as exercised by the agency of his word.

  • In the creation, "God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light" (Genesis 1:3).
  • "God said, 'Let there be an expanse...' ...and it was so" (Genesis 1:6-7).
  • God's word gathered the waters together in one place (Genesis 1:9).
  • God's word brought forth vegetation (Genesis 1:11-13).
  • God's word put lights in the sky (Genesis 1:14-19).
  • God's word created animals (Genesis 1:20-25) and humans (Genesis 1:26-27).

  ▪ So also the Son's word serves as the agency of his power.  By his word, the Son upholds--sustains--bears up--governs--directs all things.

  ▪ That also brings to mind, once again, that "In the beginning was the Word, (and that)...All things were made through him" (John 1:1-2).  In other words, the one who upholds everything by the power of his word is actually himself known as "the Word."


"when he had by himself made purification (Greek: katharismos) for our sins" (v. 3d).  The Greek word katharismos is derived from katharizo, which means "to make clean."  From those words, we get our word cathartic, which we usually use in one of two ways:

  • We talk about the emotional catharsis (cleansing) that we experience when we discuss our problems with a good listener.
  • We use the word cathartic to refer to laxatives, which cleanse us from the inside.

  ▪ However, the cleansing in which the Son is involved is spiritual in nature--the purification of the soul--the forgiveness of sins.

  ▪ The Jewish sacrificial system was for the purpose of cleansing the supplicant from sin.  But while people could submit to purification rites, purification ultimately depends on God's action--so the Psalmist cries, "Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.... Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:7, 10)--and God promises, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18)--and "I will save you from all your uncleanness" (Ezekiel 36:29).  It's that kind of spiritual purification that the Son accomplished by his word.


"sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (v. 3e).  Having accomplished his mission, the Son ascended to the heavenly kingdom from which he had descended for the Incarnation--and took his seat at the right hand of the Father (see Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2).

The right hand was the place of honor, as it still is today in many places.  In military or corporate settings, commanders or CEOs typically sit at the head of the table.  Their seconds in command sit at their right, and the next senior person sits at their left.


"having become so much better than the angels" (v. 4a).  See the remarks on angels in The Context above.

"as he has inherited a more excellent name than they have" (v. 4b).  In that culture, people considered a person's name to be more than a simple label to identify that person.  They believed that something of the person's identity was tied up in the name--that the name expressed something of the person's essential character.  As is obvious from this verse, they also assumed that a name--at least some names--possessed something of the power of the one who wore that name.

  ▪ While that might sound foreign to us today, it is not.  When we talk about a person's reputation, we are talking about something that expresses the essence of that person.  A person's reputation also conveys a certain power or lack of it.  When the author says that the Son "has inherited a more excellent name than (the angels) have, he means that the Son's essential character and power are far superior to those of the angels.

What is his name?  His name is Son--a name that trumps all other names.



Heb. 1:1-4 - T. Constable Exposition



This writer customarily began with a brief statement that presented the theme of each major section of his discourse. The first such statement appears in Hebrews 1:1-4 and introduces the theme of the culminating revelation of God, which continues through Hebrews 2:18.

  ▪ "The final disclosure of God's mind and purpose has been made in his Son, who is far superior to the angels; beware then of taking it casually and carelessly (11-24)." [Note: Moffatt, p. 1.]


  1. The Agent of God's Final Revelation 1:1-4


The writer began his epistle with an affirmation of Jesus Christ's greatness to introduce his readers to his subject. This section is one sentence in the Greek text. It contrasts God's old revelation with the new, specifically by presenting God's Son as superior to all other previous modes of revelation.

"It would be misleading to think of Hebrews 1:1-4 as stating a thesis to be proved, or as giving a précis of the following argument. The author proceeds rather by an interweaving of themes, as in musical composition." [Note: Ellingworth, p. 90.]

  ▪ "The literary structure of the exordium [Hebrews 1:1-4] exhibits a concentric symmetry (A [Hebrews 1:1-2 a] B [Hebrews 1:2 b] C [Hebrews 1:2 c] C' [Hebrews 1:3 a-b] B' [Hebrews 1:3 c] A' [Hebrews 1:4]): the conceptual correspondence of Hebrews 1:1; Hebrews 1:4 serves to frame the several statements concerning the Son in Hebrews 1:2-3 . . ."

  ▪ "The core of the exordium (B C C' B') describes Jesus in an arresting way as the royal Son, divine Wisdom, and the royal Priest." [Note: Lane, pp. 6, 7. Cf. pp. cxxxix-cxl.]


v. 1: God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,- "It is significant that the subject of the first verb is "God," for God is constantly before the author; he uses the word sixty-eight times, an average of about once every seventy-three words all through his epistle. Few NT books speak of God so often." [Note: Leon Morris, "Hebrews," in Hebrews-Revelation, vol. 12 of The Expositor's Bible Commentary, p. 12.]

  ▪ God gave many revelations of Himself to Old Testament believers, "fathers" being a shorthand way of referring to them (cf. Hebrews 1:2). Ellingworth suggested that the writer may have referred to them as "the" fathers rather than as "our" fathers because some of his readers were Gentiles. [Note: Ellingworth, p. 92.]    

  ▪ Another possibility is that "the" gives more honor than "our." God gave these revelations in many periods of history. He did this by various means and in various ways ("in many portions and in many ways"). Another rendering of this phrase is "different modes . . . and . . . different occasions." [Note: Guthrie, p. 62.] For example, His means included visions, dreams, and face-to-face communication (cf. Numbers 12:6-8). His ways included supernatural interventions into history as well as natural phenomena such as storms, plagues, and other historical events. They also included people, namely, the prophets, through whom He spoke (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). The writer probably used the Greek words polymeros ("portions") and polytropos ("ways") partially for their alliterative value. Moffatt captured this alliteration in English by translating the first part of Hebrews 1:1: "Many were the forms and fashions in which God spoke . . ." [Note: Moffatt, p. 2.]

  ▪ God's most recent revelation had come through His own Son. [Note: See Nathan D. Holsteen, "The Trinity in the Book of Hebrews," Bibliotheca Sacra 168:671 (July-September 2011):334-46.] The writer was not denying divine revelation to the apostles. He was stressing the culminating character of God's revelation in Jesus Christ compared with what He had given the Old Testament prophets. His statement establishes the fact of progressive revelation and strongly suggests the cessation of revelation in the apostolic age. [Note: See F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, p. 3.] God's final revelation through His Son came first as Jesus conducted His earthly ministry, but it continued after Jesus ascended to heaven and gave further revelation through the apostles (cf. Acts 1:1-2). Man has not taken the initiative to discover God, but God has taken the initiative to reveal Himself to man.

  ▪ The translators have supplied the word "His" (Hebrews 1:2 a). Its absence in the Greek text (along with the absence of the definite article "the") stresses the character of "Son" as a vehicle of revelation. [Note: See C. F. D. Moule, An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek, p. 114.] God's own Son is a superior revelation compared to "the prophets" (Hebrews 1:1). There are seven references to Jesus Christ as the Son in Hebrews (Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 1:8; Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 5:8; Hebrews 6:6; Hebrews 7:28; Hebrews 10:29) plus others in some of the Old Testament passages the writer quoted. [Note: See Mikael C. Parsons, "Son and High Priest: A Study in the Christology of Hebrews," Evangelical Quarterly 60:3 (July 1988):192-215.]


v. 2: in these last days has spoken to usin His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. -

  ▪ First, He is the "heir of all things." All things will fall under His authority. While Jesus Christ is presently in authority over all things, in the future God the Father will subject all things to Him in a more direct sense than the one in which they are now subject to Him (cf. Philippians 2:9-11). The writer introduced the concept of inheritance here and proceeded to develop it in this epistle (cf. Psalms 2:8; Hebrews 2:5-9). The believer's inheritance is a major theme in Hebrews.

  ▪ Second, the Son "made the world" (Gr. aiones, lit. "ages," i.e., the whole created universe of time and space). The Son was God's agent in creation (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). He created both matter and history; both ideas are in view here. [Note: Bruce, p. 4.] However the emphasis is on the various dispensations through which the world has passed, is passing, and will pass. [Note: W. H. Griffith Thomas, Hebrews: A Devotional Commentary, p. 22.] Jesus Christ is not a created being, as Jehovah's Witnesses and some others claim. He is the Creator of all.


v. 3: And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, -

  ▪ Third, the Son is "the radiance of His [God's] glory." The Greek word apaugasma, translated "radiance," refers to what shines out from the source of light. Jesus Christ revealed the glory of God in a veiled way during His incarnation. Peter, James, and John saw that radiance revealed more directly on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-2).

  ▪ Fourth, the Son is "the exact representation of His [God's] nature." The Greek word charakter, translated "representation," occurs only here in the New Testament. Greek writers used it to describe the emperor's picture on Roman coins and the clear-cut impression made by a seal (a facsimile). It did not express a general likeness but an exact duplication of the original. Jesus Christ let humankind know exactly what the nature of God, whom no one has seen, is like during His earthly ministry (cf. John 14:9).

  ▪ Fifth, the Son "upholds all things by the word of His power" (i.e., His mighty, enabling word). The idea is not so much that Jesus upholds the universe as a dead weight, similar to Atlas shouldering the world. Rather He carries all things forward (Gr. pheron) on their appointed course (Colossians 1:17). Jesus Christ's word has tremendous power and authority. It is the greatest force in the universe (cf. Genesis 1:3; et al.).

  ▪ Sixth, the Son "made purification of sins" as no one else could. He did so by His self-sacrifice on the Cross and by His work as the ultimate priest. The Greek word katharismos, translated "purification," means both removal and cleansing (cf. Mark 1:44; 2 Peter 1:9). "Sin" (hamartia) is a very common word in Hebrews occurring 25 times. The only other New Testament book in which it appears more frequently is Romans, where Paul used it 48 times.

  • "Hebrews views sins and their remedy in cultic [formal Israelite worship] terms. The purification of sins by Christ's sacrifice is related, on the one hand, to the establishment of a new order of relationships between God and mankind, and on the other hand to obedience (Hebrews 10:1-18, especially Hebrews 1:8-10) and moral effort (Hebrews 12:1-4). Apart from passing references to adultery and the love of money (Hebrews 13:4 f.), Hebrews says little about individual sins, and contains no list of vices comparable to Romans 1:29-31; Galatians 5:19-21; or 1 Peter 4:3. The fundamental sin for Hebrews is that of unfaithfulness to God, which may superficially appear as neglect or lassitude (amelesantes, Hebrews 2:3; or nothroi, Hebrews 5:11), but which in essence is rebellion against God's will, and more specifically apostasy (Hebrews 2:1-4; Hebrews 3:7-19; Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:26-31)." [Note: Ellingworth, p. 102.]

  ▪ Seventh, the Son "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" when He returned to heaven after His ascension. He took the choice place of honor and authority in relation to God the Father (cf. Ephesians 4:10; Philippians 2:9; Luke 22:69). Here the writer introduced his key text, Psalms 110, which he proceeded to expound in the chapters to follow.

  • The writer referred to the place where Jesus now sits ruling as the Father's right hand in heaven. This is not the same as the Davidic throne, which will be on earth in the future (Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:13-14; et al.). Jesus will begin His rule over Israel on earth as the Davidic Messiah after He returns to the earth at His second advent (Revelation 20:1-6). Presently He rules over the church and the angelic host in heaven (Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 1:18; Colossians 2:10). [Note: See Cleon L. Rogers Jr., "The Davidic Covenant in Acts-Revelation," Bibliotheca Sacra 151:601 (January-March 1994):81-82.]

"The concept of enthronement at God's right hand would convey to contemporaries an impression of the Son's royal power and unparalleled glory." [Note: Lane, p. 16.]

  • Each one of these seven actions points to the full deity of Jesus Christ. The original Jewish audience, faced with temptation to abandon discipleship of Jesus for return to Judaism, received a strong reminder of His deity at the very outset of this epistle. The writer also presented Him as Creator, Prophet, Priest, and King in these verses. He would say much more about Jesus as Priest-King in the following chapters.

v. 4: having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. These seven facts also reveal clearly the Son's superiority to any other of God's messengers, even the angels. This superiority is clear too in the fact that His name is Son (singular) rather than sons (collectively). The Old Testament writers called angels "sons of God" (e.g., Job 2:1; Job 38:7). Jesus Christ "inherited" the name "Son" before creation (Hebrews 1:2; cf. Hebrews 5:8). Within the Trinity, God the Son carried out the will of God the Father in a way that corresponds to the way in which sons in biblical culture carried out the wills of their fathers. In another sense, Jesus became God's Son at His ascension by taking His seat at the Father's right hand with a view to returning to the earth and ruling over it (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalms 2:7).

  • This is the first of the writer's 13 uses of the word "better" (Gr. kreitton) all of which contrast Jesus Christ and His order with what preceded Him in Judaism (Hebrews 6:9; Hebrews 7:7; Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 8:6 [twice]; Hebrews 9:23; Hebrews 10:34; Hebrews 11:16; Hebrews 11:35; Hebrews 11:40; Hebrews 12:24). This word appears only six times elsewhere in the New Testament. The writer used many comparatives (e.g., "more excellent," "lesser," "better," "more," "greater," et al.) to support his argument that the new Christian order is superior to the old Jewish order. This is also a "signpost passage" in which a brief statement (in this case "much better than the angels") identifies a main subject the writer proceeded to develop later (cf. Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 5:9-10; Hebrews 10:36-39; Hebrews 12:11?). [Note: See David J. MacLeod, "The Literary Structure of the Book of Hebrews," Bibliotheca Sacra 146:582 (April-June 1989):187.] "Angel" (Gr. angelos) is another of this writer's favorite words. It appears 13 times in Hebrews.
  • "Opinions differ as to what is meant here by 'the name.' Some take this to mean that in his whole character and personality Christ was superior to any angel. Others think the reference is simply to the name 'Son,' which is a better name than 'angel' because it denotes superiority in character and personality. Either interpretation is possible." [Note: Morris, p. 16.]
  • The writer introduced several concepts in the prologue that he developed more fully later. These include the distinctive quality of the Son's revelation, the superiority of His sacrifice, His sovereignty, and His greatness compared with the angels. [Note: For another exposition of Hebrews 1:1-4, see David J. MacLeod, "The Finality of Christ: An Exposition of Hebrews 1:1-4," Bibliotheca Sacra 162:646 (April-June 2005):210-30.]
  • The differences in the beginning of this epistle compared with the beginnings of other New Testament epistles are striking. There is no introduction of the writer, no mention of the original readers, and no benediction, all of which were common features of letters in the first century. The writer obviously wanted his readers to give their full attention to the greatness of Jesus Christ. Some students of Hebrews have concluded that the writer did not identify himself or his readers because he wanted to make Jesus Christ primary in the readers' thinking throughout this epistle. I think this is very likely.
  • "In Hebrews 1:1-4 the writer gave christological precision to a cluster of ideas derived from hellenistic Judaism. He boldly applied the categories of Wisdom to a historical figure, Jesus. The writer to the Hebrews was a creative theologian who brought together wisdom motifs and priestly motifs in a tightly formulated statement concerning the dignity and achievement of the Son of God. The opening paragraph establishes a firm christological foundation for all that the writer has to say concerning the character and demands of the revelation mediated by the Son. The joining together of wisdom and priestly notes in the carefully orchestrated presentation of the Son provides the readers with the assurance of Jesus' sustained concern for them and his ability to strengthen and vindicate the people of God when they become objects of contempt in a hostile world." [Note: Lane, p. 19.]