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Jesus Christ is staggeringly powerful, more powerful than angels.  The writer of Hebrews Ch1 portrays Jesus as God come in the flesh

 

For some decades now Australians have been treated to a range of ‘Game – shows’ that feature choosing the correct answer in order to win prizes.  Early on there was ‘Pick-a-Box’ with Bob Dyer, then there was ‘Great Temptation’, & ‘Sale of The Century’ with Tony Barber & Delveen Delaney.  Today we have everything from ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’, with Eddie McGuire right through to The biggest looser, Survivor, and the Amazing Race.  Even shows like ‘Celebrity apprentice’, ‘Dancing with the stars’, and ‘Master Chef’ & Junior Master Chef’, have the same basic principle of “get the right answer, or the right technique, the right strategy, or  process – and you could be a winner!”

Unfortunately, Australian’s interest in such shows does not translated into a zeal for right knowing of God.  I suspect that if you put the average Australian in the hot seat with Eddie McGuire and ask them who Jesus Christ is.  Is he: A: The Messiah, B: A colloquial term for surprise, C: A Tibetan Spiritual leader of long ago, or, D: An early Star out of a Richad Burton Movie.

Most Australians would not be quite sure of the answer. Most Australians would need to phone a friend! And even then, they may not know the answer, and have to go with a 50/50 split, or ask the audience! Knowing Jesus is steadily going the way of knowing effective Dads in our society, it’s not just that most people don’t know an effective Dad, it’s that they don’t know anyone else who knows one either!  Of course it isn’t helped by the bevy of shonky documentaries pumped out by certain media outlets.

People are confused about God – and they are confused about the person called ‘Jesus.’

Who is He?  Is he a mystical figure dreamt up by the early church to become a rallying point for their cause – sort of like king Arthur and his round table, and Sir Lancelot, that we think existed in history but were not quite sure when and where.  Is He a real figure in history – but a figure who unfortunately was in the wrong place at the wrong time, like a 1C pedestrian trying to cross a modern freeway, where there’s no crossing, and so he forfeited his life unnecessarily. Is he like some of the ‘Occupy-Wall-Street protesters, a dynamic leader who wanted to unify his people but He couldn’t quite get the established powers to see it his way and so ended up losing his life on a cross, because people misunderstood what he was on about. 

Well the writer of the book of Hebrews is not confused about who Jesus is, He writes in no-uncertain-terms about the Greatness of the Saviour.  The book opens like an explosion of praise and knowledge of the Saviour.  Like the switches being thrown on massive stadium lighting towers, there is an almost audible ‘thud’ as each bank on each tower floods with the current of thousands of volts, pointing to the one who is JESUS.  The writer’s name, & his circumstance we do not know, and there have been literally reams of paper written on who, the author of Hebrews may be. But none have been conclusive.  And in a way that is quite fitting for a book like this, that we do not know these details, because the writer of this book wants the spotlight to go to Jesus and not to himself. The knowledge of the Saviour is so wonderful, that it eclipses all else.  In fact so wonderful is this knowledge that the writer completely dispenses with the normal and accepted forms of introduction and letter writing, the more quickly to get to the main burden of his message about Jesus.

Today we are going to cover two aspects of the greatness and supremacy of Christ in the two opening chapters of Hebrews.  We are going to look at the aspect first; of Jesus identity as the revelation of God.  And then Jesus identity as the one so much superior to the angels.

So first of all the aspect of his Revelation of God, V1-3 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.

In the past God used all kinds of ways to reveal Himself and His will to His people, but in these last days He has done this by his Son.  In the past, God has revealed himself to people through dreams and visions, through the words of the Prophets, through Angelic messengers, a burning bush, a still small voice, a talking donkey, a flaming hand writing on a wall, a many other varied ways of revelation. Through acceptable, predicable, ways, as well as though strange bizarre and Unpredictable ways.  God chose the way that was most appropriate, and holy men of God were carried along in the revealing of God and His will. – BUT, in these last days, as in when this was written through to today, God has spoken to us BY HIS SON!

The writer to the Hebrews is not saying that the means of God’s revelation in the past was in some ways faulty, and so had to be straighten out by the coming of the Son – no what he’s doing is showing that as great and wonderful as the revelation that came to man from God was in the past, now God has personally come to make himself known. Sort of like a mechanic who’d worked all of his life with Enzo Ferrari, telling you in the past about Enzo’s vision for the sports cars he had made, and then lo and behold Enzo himself steps into the room, and tells in His own words!

Jesus is the revelation of God.  He is what the Apostle John calls the Word of God made flesh. You and I cannot see God, we cannot know God, or speak to God, or be spoken to by God, or come Face to face with God except by Jesus Christ (John 14:6: Matt. 11:25-27). Jesus says “I am the way and the Truth and the Life” – without Him, there is no possibility of us coming to God, no possibility of us understanding what God would have us do, and no possibility of us living for God. Jesus is not just a bearer of God’s word, He IS THE WORD OF GOD. The passage says He is appointed heir of all things, and through whom, the universe was made.

Let that thought seize you for a moment.  Jesus born of Mary, born in a stable, who creates farm machinery out of logs, is also the self-same CREATOR who made everything in the UNIVERSE out of the command of His word. 

You say; ‘Oh that’s a bit extreme’ “You don’t expect me to believe that Jesus who was laid in a manger, Jesus who spent most of his life in the Palestinian countryside, Jesus who would eventually die on a Cross, also responsible for every atom, and electron, and molecule, as well as every Supernova, and swirling galaxy in the entire Universe? Let’s not be too hasty.  Why not say instead, ‘He’s someone ‘special’, someone you could ‘look-up-to, someone who yes, said things that were ‘out-of-this-world’ fair enough, but not someone whose origins are outside this world.  Not someone who possesses such incredible power that he could speak in terms of Genesis 1 and make something where there was nothing ever before?  You surly don’t mean that.  That’s exactly what I mean. But its not me, It’s the bible.  Read what It says.  You can’t escape it.  ||  In fact the revelation of God though Jesus Christ is a bigger deal even than the fact that He has created all that there is, the passage also says that he sustains it all as well! The fact that he’s allowed so called laws of nature to work so that the atoms in the chair or pew that you are sitting on here this morning vibrate at a certain frequency and stick together in a certain order, such that you can sit in that seat right now this morning and not have it all suddenly let go.  The fact that the earth is the exact distance from the sun to sustain life.

Of course all this makes it very clear that Jesus is one with the Father and the Spirit.  That God is by nature and being a Trinitarian God.  The Son is the Radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of His being. You want to know what God is like – look to Jesus.  But how can that be?  How can God who fills the universe, be represented as one man?  ||  Of course there are limitations to our understanding of these things.  Just because for the life of me, I could not explain to you how microwaves passing through food heats them up, doesn’t mean that a microwave oven cannot exist.

Jesus is not just a man who has had a new brain and heart transplanted into him, nor is He some sort of Godlike apparition, more God than man.  He is at the same time, fully God AND Fully man.  How else do we explain that He who at the one time rests by a well, from walking, then tells a passing woman everything she ever did?  He who at the one time is needing to sleep in the back of a boat in a storm, moments latter stands up in the boat and orders a storm to rest.

Jesus is the revelation of God in creation, and He is also the revelation of God in Salvation, in providing purification for sins.  If Jesus were not God come in the flesh how could he really have dealt with your sin and mine?  Would you really feel comfortable entrusting your eternal destiny to just a man, no matter how good and virtuous He was, no matter how wise and inspiriting his words, If He’s not God, then sorry He cannot deal with the biggest problem that all of us have, that fact that our sin separates us from God.  But what about the person who says; “Well I can accept that Jesus could be someone special, but I sort of think of him like an angel – a being noble and good, who brings us good news, and helps us in life.”  This is the view that some have that find it incomprehensible that God could be a Trinitarian God.  The holder of this view likes things to be in neat packages, and says, “God the Father, yes.  God the Spirit, well maybe God was talking about His power there.”  “God the Son? That must just be a way that Jesus talks about himself, like we might call a special older person ‘aunt’ or ‘uncle’, but they’re not actually an aunt or Uncle – we just call them that for convention – maybe it’s the same with the Father and the Son.”  This idea makes Jesus into some sort of angel, a special angel, a unique angel, maybe the chief of all angels, but an ‘angel’ non-the-less.

But is that what the passage says?  No. No the writer of the book of Hebrews is very adamant, Jesus is not simply an Angel.

For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father " ? Or again, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son" ?6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."   He asserts that Jesus’s name is superior to theirs, in verse 4. Jesus relationship with the Father is superior to theirs in verse 6.  Jesus authority as ruler is superior to theirs in verse 13&14 Verse after verse is quoted to back up the Fact that Jesus is supreme even over angles.

Again, someone might say;  “But what is the matter, If I think of Jesus perhaps as some sort of angel – how does that matter?” ||  Well it matters because it doesn’t exalt the Son to the palace that is rightfully His.  It robs Him of His glory, and depicts him as a created being, rather than The Creator.

Why does that matter?  Iit effects what we think of Jesus and how we speak to Jesus.  See if you were invited to a dinner to honour the Australian Inventor or the Bionic Ear Dr Grahame Clark, and you were seated next to him, and during the evening you turned to the person on the other side and referred to the Dr in various ways that suggested that you thought that He was no different to the little electronic devise that he’d invented, how would he feel?   If you said to the person next to you; “Don’t talk too loud – he can hear you you know!”  “He might seem like an inanimate object but he can hear you.”  “He’s got to give a speech in a little while, I wonder how he’ll be able to do that?  I hope he’s got his battery in, otherwise this will all go a little ‘flat’ wont it.”  If you said to the waiter; “Better not spill any water near Dr Clark he might short a circuit!”  If nothing else it’s a bit rude isn’t it?   If we treat Jesus like He’s a created thing – its demeaning, it doesn’t honour Him for who He is.  It tries to rob Him of His glory. This passage forces us to ask the question; Who do we think Jesus is? Do we really know Him? De we really think of WHO IT IS that we are praying to? Do we Love Him as someone ‘special’ among other special people, or as the KING OF ALL KINGS & LORD OF ALL LORDS

I close with a quote from John Owen in his work on the Glory of Christ says about the mystery of God become flesh in Jesus Christ; “..A mystery it is, so far above the order of all creating or providence, that it wholly transcends the sphere of things that are miraculous.  (he means by that that this is MORE than a miracle)  All other things were produced and effected by an outward emanation of power from God.  He said; “Let there be light and there was light.”  But this, (meaning the coming of God as man) –whereby the Eternal was made in time, the Infinite became finite, the Immortal mortal, yet at the same time remaining Eternal Infinite Immortal – is that singular expression of Divine wisdom, goodness and power wherein God will be admired and glorified unto all eternity.”

In life there may be a great many questions that we may choose to be equivocal on, but this question of who Jesus is, we must have resolved.       LGS

 

 
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