May 2, 2011

Tuesday after the First Sunday after Easter


Lectionary

Morning - Psalm 5, Ex. 13:7-14:4, Heb. 2:1-8
Evening – Psalm 15, 24, Is. 40:12-17, 1 Pet. 1:13

Commentary

If an angel were to appear to you at this very moment, you would probably be filled with fear.  If the angel told you to do something, you would probably obey immediately.  Yet One far greater than all the angels has appeared on earth, and bids you believe in Him and keep His commandments, therefore you should give your utmost to hearing and obeying His Word.  This is the point of our reading in Hebrews this morning, and it begins in the very first verse.  The One who is greater than the angels is Christ Jesus, the character of God in human form, as we saw in our reading yesterday.  Christ is the heir and creator of all things, who purged our sins by His own blood, and now is seated again at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb. 1:2).  God has spoken to us in Him, a revelation that is complete and full and above every other communication from God.  The other revelations looked forward to Him, and He is the completion of their story (Heb. 1:1).

People suffered for disobeying the word of God given through these lesser beings.  This is seen in the numerous disasters suffered by Israel for their lack of obedience.  If Israel was punished for disobedience to the word given through men and angels, God will surely punish those who disobey His word given through Christ Himself.  If they who disobeyed angels did not escape, can anyone who disobeys the express image of God expect to escape?  “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (He. 2:3).  Let us give “more earnest heed” to the things God has spoken in Christ, “lest at any time we should let them slip” (2:1).

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.