The whole Bible is about Jesus and why we should give more attention to Him than to anything or anyone else. The author of Hebrews wants his readers to get that truth. To those who want to elevate angels, prophets, and even Moses to the prominent position in life, the author uses their own Scriptures to show that it is improper to do so. In the Gospels, God opens the heavens and tells us “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” But the Old Testament carries the same message. It is clear that no one and nothing should have precedence over Jesus.  Hebrews 1:9 continues the quote from the Psalms and reads, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

Concerning this verse, the handbook for translators says, “This whole quotation, in its present context, is a favorable judgment given by God the Father on the total life and work of his Son.”[1] In the Psalms and in the Prophets and in the Law, God bears witness to the Son and His perfection and right to reign. None of the prophets are presented to us as perfectly righteous in every way. Even the most prominent heroes have flaws and weaknesses that lead them into sin. According to both the Old Testament and the New, we’ve all fallen short and have sinned. There is no one righteous. Wait a minute, there is one! His name is Jesus!

“It is not a kingdom at all in the ordinary sense of the word. There are no plush palaces, no visible royal regalia, no elaborate political negotiations with other kingdoms. Yet in some special way he rules in the hearts of his people more thoroughly than any earthly king rules his subjects. He rules with righteousness. He loves righteousness.”[2] He shares his righteousness with those who trust in Him. Joy is always connected to righteousness in the Bible and that was the pronouncement that came from an angel to the shepherds around Bethlehem. Luke 2:10 says the angel declared to the frightened shepherds, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” The “Good News” that brings “Great Joy” to “All People” (including you and me) is that Christ’s righteousness can be ours through faith, not through works. The Good News (Romans 1:16-17) is “Joyful News.” It’s the news that even sinful man can be made right with God through faith in Jesus. It’s His righteousness, not ours, that saves!

[1] Paul Ellingworth and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the Letter to the Hebrews, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 19.

[2] James Girdwood and Peter Verkruyse, Hebrews, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1997), Heb 1:9.