May 2, 2011

Monday after the First Sunday after Easter


Lectionary

Psalm 1, 3, Ex. 13:3-16, Heb. 1
Psalm 4, 11, Is. 40:1-11, 1 Pet. 1:1-12

Commentary

Hebrews has one resounding theme, the absolute supremacy of Christ.  He is the Son of God, which is to say He is God, the Second Person of the Triune God who is One, yet Three.  As the Son of God He is God’s final and ultimate revelation.  In times past God has spoken through the prophets.  To them He gave visions and visitations and signs and wonders.  But Jesus is the final Message of God.  The prophets wrote of Him.  The visions, signs, and wonders were given to guide Israel toward the fullness of time when Christ would appear and begin to bring all things together under Himself.  Therefore, Christ is superior to visions and signs.  They are actually superseded by Him.  They are no longer needed.  God spoke to us in His Son, who gave His word to the Apostles, who recorded it in the Bible.  Thus, the Bible is our authority.  We should not expect more visions or prophecies or signs or feelings.  We should not expect God to speak to us through such measures.  We have a much surer way of knowing God; He is revealed in the Bible.  To seek to know the will of God apart from the Bible is to treat the Bible as insufficient, and that is the same as saying Christ is insufficient.

This Word of God, the Son of God is brightness of His glory and the image of His person (1:3).  “Image” in the Greek is the word from which we derive our English word, “character.” It means Christ is not an image of God as a portrait or statue is an image of a person.  Christ is the living expression of God.  He is the “character” (nature) of God in a living, human form.  Therefore, He is superior to angels.  Angels are great and powerful beings.  They are good, they are strong, and they dwell in the immediate presence of God.  They serve Him and worship Him and do His will.  Yet they are nothing in comparison to Christ.  He is their Lord.  He is their Creator and Master.  He gives their powers to them.  He gives their existence to them.  He can take it away in less than an instant if He wants to. 

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