the key to the code is Jesus

Andrei Rublev, Christ in Majesty (1410-1415)

Heb 1:1-4, 2:5-12
For Sunday, October 7, 2012
Proper 22

NIV Hebrews 1:1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

At first, the book of Hebrews can be hard to understand because it’s so Jewish.  Yet there is a simple step you can take to understand it.  Imagine that you are Jewish and that you are looking to make sense of your Torah.  When will Messiah come, who is he, and how will we recognize him?  These are the questions Hebrews sets out to answer.

One common understanding of Hebrews is that it was a sermon.  I don’t think so.  I think it was an apologetic written to convince Hellenized Jews that Jesus had to be Messiah and that only through Him can the plan of God or the purpose of our lives be grasped.  A respected evangelical scholar once said to me on the phone, “The key to understanding the Old Testament is that there is no central message, but only a collection of disparate themes.”  I disagree.  There are disparate themes, to be sure, but they come together in Messiah Jesus, and Hebrews is both the proof of this and the key to this. The key to the code is Jesus.

Hebrews chapter 2 makes the point that while Jesus was fully divine he was also fully human.  This is good news for us: this guy gets it!  He faced the same temptations we faced and can therefore empathize.  At the same time, He himself secured our deliverance from sin and invites us to come boldly into His presence.  You can do this: he knows it, because he did it first.  Rest, rejoice in your forgiveness, and enter into the victory of trusting in Him.

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