From the Word
1 In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs. 5 For to what angel did God ever say, “Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee”?
Hebrews 1:1–5, RSV
These words are a quotation from the second Psalm. We see that the reference here is plainly to Christ, against whom the Jews raged with Pilate, Herod and the chief priests. To Christ God says, “Thou art my Son.” The Jews endeavor to evade this passage of the apostle. Unable to deny that the Psalm refers to a coming king and an anointed one, they assert that the allusion is to David, who was also a Christ. For they designate all kings “Messiahs” or “Christs,” that is, anointed ones. But their interpretation will not hold. David never inherited the heathen, nor did the kingdom extend to the uttermost parts of the earth, as recorded of the king mentioned in the Psalm. To no man is it anywhere said in the Scriptures, “Thou art my Son.”
Even when the Jews admit that the allusion of the Psalm is to the Messiah, they resort to two evasions. They maintain that he is yet to come, that Jesus Christ is not the Messiah; and that although called the son of God, he is not God. How shall we reply to them? In the first place we have the testimony of experience that Jesus is he of whom the Psalm speaks; in Christ the prophecy is fulfilled and has become history. He was persecuted by kings and rulers. They sought to destroy him and only brought derision upon themselves in the attempt. They were themselves destroyed, as the Psalm says. Throughout the world Christ is recognized as Lord. No king, before or since, has ruled or can rule in equal extent. The apostle’s reasoning, based on the fact that nowhere is it said to any angel, much less to any man, “Thou art my Son,” sufficiently proves that Christ is God. He must be particularly God’s Son, having a relation not shared by men and angels. That God does not include him among other sons but especially distinguishes him, indicates his superiority. He cannot be superior to angels without being true God, for angels are the highest order of beings. The apostle lays so much stress upon Scriptural authority that we are under no obligations to accept anything the Bible does not assert. Be certain you have full Scripture authority for all you accept. In all things not found in the Scriptures, ask as does the apostle here, “When did God ever assert it?”
Martin Luther and John Sander, Devotional Readings from Luther’s Works for Every Day of the Year (Rock Island, IL: Augustana Book Concern, 1915), 9–10.
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