Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (Hebrews 2:1-4)
The first chapter break in Hebrews is somewhat unfortunate. As we have it numbered, the first four verses of chapter 2 serve to summarize all of chapter 1. Perhaps more people would see this if they were labeled 1:15-18 rather than 2:1-4!
Hebrews 1:1-2:4 begins the book as many modern systematic theologies do: with a discussion of revelation. The first three verses make it clear that Jesus Christ is the supreme and unsurpassable Word of God. There is no clearer communication possible. In verse 4 the author transitions into a discussion of the Son’s superiority to angels. This seems a little strange: what does the Son’s superiority to angels have to do with him being God’s ultimate revelation?
The first four verses of chapter two answer that question by returning to the subject of revelation. One of the “many ways” in which God gave his word to the Old Testament prophets was through the mediation of angels (2:2; cf. Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19). This word was considered God’s word and disobedience was punishable by death. So if a word from God given by angels is so dreadfully binding, what can be said of a word that is given by God’s only Son who is himself the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature?
If death was the punishment for breaking the Old Testament law given through angels, how much more severe is the punishment for breaking the New Testament law given through the Son?
Yet, just when you think the author of Hebrews cannot impress upon us any more clearly the danger of rejecting God’s word of salvation: he does just that. This great salvation was not something that the Son just dreamed up on his own. This word of salvation was declared by the Son who preached “Repent…”; “Come unto me…”; “I am…” It was validated by the Father who proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son…” He who blackened earth at the Son’s crucifixion. He who gave new light at the Son’s rising. It is propagated by the generosity of the Holy Spirit who gives gracious gifts for the building of the church.
The Son is God’s supreme Word to mankind. But his voice is not alone. The Father testifies by wondrous works. The Spirit testifies by gracious gifts.
The Trinity has spoken.
What more can he say?