Hebrews – God’s action in Jesus
It seems odd to have to say so, but too much religion is a bad thing. We can’t get too much of God, can’t get too much faith and obedience, can’t get too much love and worship. But religion–the well-intentioned efforts we make to “get it all together” for God–can very well get in the way of what God is doing for us. The main and central action is everywhere and always what God has done, is doing, and will do for us. Jesus is the revelation of that action. Our main and central focus is to live in responsive obedience to God’s action revealed in Jesus. Our part in the action is the act of faith.
But more often than not we become impatiently self-important along the way and decide to improve matters with our two cents worth. We add on, we supplement, we embellish. But instead of improving on the purity and simplicity of Jesus, we dilute the purity, clutter the simplicity. We become fussily religious, or anxiously religious. We get in the way.
That’s when it’s time to read and pray our way through the letter to the Hebrews again, written for “too religious” Christians, for “Jesus-and” Christians. In the letter, it is Jesus-and-angels, or Jesus-and-Moses, or Jesus-and-priesthood. In our time it is more likely to be Jesus-and-politics, or Jesus-and-education, or even Jesus-and-Buddha. This letter deletes the hyphens, the add-ons. The focus becomes clear and sharp again: God’s action in Jesus. And we are free once more for the act of faith, the one human action in which we don’t get in the way but on the Way. –Eugene Peterson
Hebrews 1, The Message
1-3 Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words!
The Son Is Higher than Angels
3-6 After he finished the sacrifice for sins, the Son took his honored place high in the heavens right alongside God, far higher than any angel in rank and rule. Did God ever say to an angel, “You’re my Son; today I celebrate you” or “I’m his Father, he’s my Son”? When he presents his honored Son to the world, he says, “All angels must worship him.”
7 Regarding angels he says,
The messengers are winds,
the servants are tongues of fire.
8-9 But he says to the Son,
You’re God, and on the throne for good;
your rule makes everything right.
You love it when things are right;
you hate it when things are wrong.
That is why God, your God,
poured fragrant oil on your head,
Marking you out as king,
far above your dear companions.
10-12 And again to the Son,
You, Master, started it all, laid earth’s foundations,
then crafted the stars in the sky.
Earth and sky will wear out, but not you;
they become threadbare like an old coat;
You’ll fold them up like a worn-out cloak,
and lay them away on the shelf.
But you’ll stay the same, year after year;
you’ll never fade, you’ll never wear out.
13 And did he ever say anything like this to an angel?
Sit alongside me here on my throne
Until I make your enemies a stool for your feet.
14 Isn’t it obvious that all angels are sent to help out with those lined up to receive salvation?
What do we learn?
–Our faith is in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
–Jesus is God. Alpha and Omega.
–Our God never changes. Jesus is always the same. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are One.
–Jesus is NOT an angel. Jesus is God.
–Jesus perfectly mirrors God. When Jesus looks in a mirror, He sees God.
–Jesus spoke words directly from God to people on earth before laying down his life to pay for the sins of all.
–Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.
–The Way is Jesus crucified so that we might live eternally with God because of our faith and belief in Him. The Way is the way to God through Jesus Christ, His Son.
Are we on The Way to God or getting in the way?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Hallowed be Your Name. May Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily manna of knowledge and wisdom in every detail of our lives. Forgive us our sin as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptations to think thoughts other than yours, but deliver us from all evil and evil’s schemes to bring us down. For YOU have all power. Nothing is too hard for You. Our hope and faith is in You and You alone. To You be all glory, honor and praise forever and ever, Amen. Yes, and Amen.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe. And I’m singing….
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
In Him, my righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.