Jesus Is Better! Don't Settle for Less
- Summary: The Scriptures make a number of Jesus-is-better declarations. It’s not that those other things that Jesus is superior to are necessarily bad. In fact, many of them are quite good. But they pale by comparison to what Jesus offers. Don’t settle for less! Embrace all that Jesus is and all that He has for you.
Hebrews 1:4-5, KJV Being made so much better than the angels, as he [Jesus] hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
- •• Christians tend to think highly of angels. And rightly so. They are immensely powerful, they are perfectly holy, they have access directly to God’s presence in heaven, and more. But Jesus is “so much better than the angels”.
•• How is Jesus so much better?
- • Jesus is called “my son” by God the Father, in a familial sense that angels are not.
• Angels are created beings. Jesus is an eternal Being (Micah 5:2, KJV).
• Jesus is Deity. Angels are not.
• Jesus saves the world from sin. Angels cannot.
• Jesus is “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). Angels are “ministering servants” to the saved (Hebrews 1:14).
• The Bible contains many more such affirmations of Jesus’ superiority. Let's look at some more.
Hebrews 3:5-6 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future.  But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
- •• Moses was a heroic personage in the Hebrew culture. He received the Law from God and passed it on to Israel. He led the Israelites out of 400 years of Egyptian bondage. And over the course of 40 years, he brought them to the borders of the promised land.
•• Nevertheless, the inspired writer to the Hebrews asserts the clear superiority of Jesus Christ to Moses — and by extension, to all other mortals.
- • Moses was a servant. Jesus is the Son of God.
• Moses served “in” God’s house. Jesus is Lord “over” God’s house — which “house”, we are told, is us, believing Christians. Moses was a God-called human leader to God’s people. Jesus is the Son of God from heaven, who is Lord and Savior over God’s people.
Hebrews 7:19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
- •• The Law God gave Israel through Moses is “holy ... spiritual ... good” (Romans 7:12, 14, 16). But, as our verse above says, it “made nothing perfect”.
•• Notice the contrast in John 1:17 — “The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” We who are saved by grace through faith in Christ have a “better hope” than those under the Law of Moses. Perfection was never achieved by pursuing the works of Moses’ Law. But Jesus ushered in the grace of God to redeem fallen mankind and to make the forgiven sinner perfectly acceptable in God’s sight.
- • Hebrews 10:14 “...because by one sacrifice [Jesus] has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Unlike Moses’ Law, Jesus’ grace and redeeming death and resurrection have provided for those who receive Him what theologians call a ”positional” righteousness from God that is perfect. Then, from the moment of our salvation to the end of our lives on this earth, we are to grow in grace and holiness, in response to and gratitude for the Lord’s gracious salvation.
Hebrews 7:22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
- •• In the Old Testament, God made a covenant of laws with His people through the mediator Moses. But Jesus came to earth in God’s timing to establish through His death and resurrection a “better covenant” of faith and grace between God and man.
•• Unlike the Israelites under the Old Covenant's Law, the New Covenant believer is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) — another clear Jesus-is-better example.
Hebrews 7:23-25 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office;  but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.  Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
- •• The Old Testament priests, who descended from the first high priest Aaron, all died. By contrast, Jesus rose from the dead and “lives forever”. That enables him to exercise a “permanent priesthood” in which He is always there for us, always interceding in heaven for us, always able to “save completely those who come to God through him”.
•• We no longer need to depend upon priests who grow old and die. No! We have an eternal High Priest in heaven, Jesus! For all eternity He will be our High Priest in every aspect of bringing us into the presence of God Almighty.
Hebrews 8:6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.
- •• His superior ministry and promises — Jesus saves us, heals us, delivers us, hears and answers our prayers, gives us meaning and purpose in this life, and takes us to be with Him eternally at the end of our life on this earth. Many more wonderful promises could be mentioned, and they are all made available to us through Jesus Christ — 2 Corinthians 1:20a For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.
Hebrews 9:13-14 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
- •• The blood of the sacrificed animals made the Old Testament Israelite worshipers “outwardly clean”. But the blood that Jesus Christ shed for our salvation goes far beyond the outward. It efficaciously reaches into our innermost being, to “cleanse our consciences” from the guilt of our sins.
•• That is, the blood of Christ makes us inwardly clean!
Hebrews 9:23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
- •• The earthly tabernacle and temple and their furnishings were purified with the blood of the sacrificed animals. But they were only a copy of the magnificent abode of God in heaven.
•• This verse strongly suggests the radical superiority of the heavenly reality over the earthly copy. Therefore, its purification demands a far higher quality of sacrifice. And that, of course, was the sacrifice of the Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ. He is the “better sacrifice”.
Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
- •• In this well-known Bible account, two sisters hosted Jesus at their home. One of them, Martha, busied herself doing all the natural preparations. The other, Mary, “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said”. When Martha complained to Jesus, He did not minimize her gracious works of hospitality, but He nonetheless told her that, in choosing to sit at Christ’s feet and hear His words, Mary had “chosen what is better”.
•• The point is simple: life has a never-ending cycle of natural tasks to accomplish. Most of them are good — for example, feeding our families, tilling the fields, washing clothes. But “better” than all of them is taking portions of time apart to seek the Lord’s presence and His input into our lives through prayer, worship, and His word.
Philippians 1:21-24 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;  but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
- •• This fascinating exclamation by the great apostle Paul is a good place to close. Just hear the power of his words:
- • “To me, to live is Christ...”
• “...and to die is gain.”
• If Paul were to “go on living...[that would] mean fruitful labor” among those he loved on this earth.
• But hear his higher hope — “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”
- •• Better than earthly ministry for the Lord? Yes. Better than staying here on earth a while longer to be with loved ones? Yes. Some Christians fear death. They shouldn’t. It is in the sovereign design of God that, after a meaningful life on this earth, the believer goes “home” to the presence of the Lord. And at that time we will see in greater clarity than ever before the truth that, compared to all earthly things, Jesus is better!
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©2012, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.