It’s all about Jesus
Hebrews 3: Take a good hard look at Jesus. He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe.
I have but a vague idea of what church was like for the original readers of this letter. Even if I can’t hear what’s being said I can walk into nearly any Christian worship event today and recognize elements I identify as “Christian.” Could I do the same if I found myself back in 50 A.D.? It’s a good question but I don’t have a good answer. How much of what we do is at the core of Christianity? Is preaching or singing or receiving the offering at the core? The writer of Hebrews reminds me today that Christianity is all about Christ. That must be the same whether I’m doing “high” or “low” church. In fact, if I make Christianity about church I’ve already missed the boat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-church, in fact, I’m all for it. However, for Christianity to be Christian it has to be absolutely focused on Jesus Christ. Even beyond that, it’s a living, right-now, kind of focus. I’m not looking at some old, dusty story or some tried and true belief system. I’m looking to a person who’s alive and well and with whom I have an up-to-date relationship. Only in such a relationship can I be a real Christian.
Take Away: If we’re not careful, we make Christianity about behavior or beliefs or church…that’s all mistaken. Christianity is about Christ.
My brother is King
Hebrews 2: It’s logical that the savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death.
Once the awful persecution of the ancient Church ended, it turned its attention to formalizing the doctrines of Christianity. What beliefs are required to be “Christian” and what beliefs are outside of the boundaries of Christianity? Creeds were debated, created, and adjusted as Christians tried to better understand what was and what was not “Christian.” It’s no surprise that the main focus in all this was Jesus, himself. Who was he? What does it mean for him to be the “Son of God”? What does it mean for him to be the “Son of man”? Some people focused on his humanity and decided Jesus was a very good man who was picked by God to be the Savior of the world. Others focused on his divinity. They decided that Jesus appeared to be human, but was actually God dressed up in human flesh. Ultimately, the Church abandoned mathematics in favor of faith. It was concluded that Jesus was, at the same time 100% man and 100% God. Never mind that this adds up to 200% — we’d just believe that that’s how it is. Here we are, way down the road and so comfortable with this approach that we don’t think much about it. Today’s passage played a role in this understanding of Jesus. The writer of Hebrews describes one who was so human that he died a very human and real death for all. At the same time, he’s positioned in the loftiest of realms. For human beings, this is good news indeed, it’s great having one we call “brother” also be our Lord and Savior.
Take Away: Jesus is 100% man. He’s also 100% God. This God-man is the Savior of the world.
None other has these credentials
Hebrews 1: But he says to the Son, You’re God.
God has always been a communicating God. That’s abundantly obvious as I read through the Old Testament. Hardly a page can be read without reference to God’s communicating something. Outside the pages of the Bible there are other communications of God; sometimes in direct, undeniable ways, other times for anyone willing to pay attention. The unnamed writer of the Book of Hebrews focuses on the ultimate communication of God. In Jesus, I’m told, God has spoken to us as he has never spoken before or will ever speak again. Up to this time, people might debate on who has been the greatest messenger of God. Perhaps it was one of the great patriarchs or prophets. Some might argue that it has to be the angels, whose very name means “messenger.” In the Book of Hebrews the case is made, and won, that only one messenger has spoken with the very authority of God. Other genuine messengers should be honored and their message heeded. Only one messenger is to be worshiped as God. His name is Jesus.
Take Away: In Jesus we see God, himself.