Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hebrews 5

The third point about Jesus is that he is “the radiance of God’s glory.” If you are looking at a light bulb, you see the light itself. If your back is to the bulb, you can still see from the “radiance” of the light. The radiance is the light you can see when you can’t see the source directly. Jesus is the means for us to see the light of the Father. “Jesus said If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” My grandfather would have said, “he’s the spittin’ image of his father.”

This point is expanded in the fourth truth about Jesus, “the representation of God’s essence.” A few lines from the Nicene Creed make the point very clearly:

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;

Jesus is made of the same essence as God. My grandfather would have said “he’s a chip of the old block.”

Jesus, God’s new method of delivering His message, is the radiance of God’s glory and the representation of God’s very essence.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hebrews 4

The second of the seven things about Christ is “through whom he created the world.”

It’s clear from other scripture that Christ was involved in creation (John 1:3,10 & Col. 1:16) and that may be what’s meant here. But word translated “world” could also be translated “ages.”

In Hebrews 13:8 we read “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, forever.” The word translated “forever” in this verse is the same word translated “world” in verse 2.

I think the latter or perhaps even both is what the author had in mind. Later in this chapter he wrote…

"You founded the earth in the beginning, Lord, and the heavens are the works of your hands. They will perish, but you continue. And they will all grow old like a garment, and like a robe you will fold them up: and like a garment they will be changed, but you are the same and your years will never run out." Hebrews 1:10-12 emphasis added

The emphasis seems to be on the eternal nature of Christ. All previous messengers of the truth were temporary and eventually replaced by a better messenger (Jesus Christ). He is the perfect messenger and it’s inconceivable that he will ever be replaced by a better messenger. He not only created the world, he created forever. This messenger will never be replaced by a new and improved version.

DISCUSSION: If this messenger can never be replaced, what does that mean about His message? What impact was the writer of Hebrews hoping this phrase would have on his readers? What does this mean for those who preach “another gospel?”

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hebrews 3

The first of the seven things listed about the son is that he is "heir of God." (Chapter 1, verse 2) Inherit has at least two meanings that apply here. One meaning is the “stuff” one inherits in the future. In one sense this does not apply because this Father will never die. But in another sense, Christ at one point stepped (or will step) into the throne over all of creation. Verse 13 cites an Old Testament proof text for this. Only the Son, the heir will sit at the right hand of God until his enemies are made into a foot stool. (See also Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 5:5-14)

The other meaning of inherit is an intrinsic part of the heir. I inherited dark hair, dark eyes, and a love for learning. I also inherited a sin nature and an inclination toward selfishness. These are genetic and spiritual inheritance.

What did Jesus inherit “genetically” or spiritually from his Father? If you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father (John 14:9).

DISCUSSION: Galatians 4:6-7 teaches that since we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we become heirs with Jesus. What do we inherit “genetically” or spiritually from our Heavenly Father?
(See Matthew 5:43-45 for one answer.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hebrews 2

This book was clearly written to an audience familiar with Jewish practices. Given that, the first thought is pretty astonishing. It could be paraphrased….

“In times past, God spoke to our forefathers in prophets, dreams, visions, even donkeys, and that’s pretty amazing. God’s truth communicated directly to them by all kinds of ways, but now, something far better has occurred. God has spoken truth to us, directly from His Son.”

The author then lists seven reasons why using this messenger surpasses anything else God could have done to communicate to us.

We’ll look at those seven things, and they should amaze us and change us. But I don’t want to skip the beginning.

God Spoke. That in itself is a miraculous blessing. It shatters Deism.

God Spoke to “our” forefathers. The Jews reading this should be reminded of their holy, special, privileged place. They were God’s chosen.

The pride the Jewish people felt at being God’s chosen was/is significant

DISCUSSION: Should Christians feel a similar pride at being God’s chosen?