The most unfathomable mystery?

The first chapter of Hebrews is beautiful, enlightening, and foundational for Christian doctrine. It sets up Jesus as God in no uncertain terms, tell just how much of God we see in Jesus: the “radiance of his glory and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3 ESV).

This is nothing short of breathtaking for me, that somehow the depths of God’s nature–the creator-king of the universe–are revealed in a humble man.

The mystery is unfathomable, yet it provides so much assurance that God is close, knowable, and that he desires to be known by us. Why else would he have chosen this way of salvation for his people?

Jesus is the crux of creation and reigns supreme over everything.

Our God suffers

Chapter two of Hebrews solidifies Christ’s sovereignty in all things, especially salvation.
suffering - waiting on the word - flickr - cc

In a final, powerful statement, however, the humanity of Jesus is underscored when the author reminds us that “he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18 ESV).

Our God suffers with us.

This reminds me of the overriding purpose of the spiritual disciplines: to know Jesus more and to be conformed to his likeness. These practices take time, effort, and sacrifice.

They wouldn’t be worth it, save for the fact they help me know this person who is somehow my friend and brother and king and God, this person who not only died for his people, but rose victorious from death to redeem them from the clutches of death.

The ultimate worthiness of pursuing Jesus at all costs is confirmed.

Do I believe?

In Hebrews three, the author compares and contrasts Jesus with Moses, the greatest leader in Jewish history.

The writer of Hebrews states that both are marked by faithfulness, but that Jesus’ faithfulness is different than Moses’. Jesus’ faithfulness, in contrast to Moses’, is “over” God’s house rather than “in” it (cf. Heb. 3:5-6). In chapter 1 and chapter 2, Jesus is set up as supreme over creation, and this theme of supremacy carries over here.

The author brings the concept closer to home for his or her readers–showing that Jesus is the logical and natural fulfillment of the Mosaic leadership example. Read More

The path to inner healing

Inner healing starts with Jesus.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus is essential to inner healing, because somehow the more we focus on him, the more we desire to know him, the more we become like him.
inner healing
As our minds are formed to be more like Christ’s, we are able by grace to deal with sin and wounds that have been inflicted upon us by evil. As we become more like Christ, we become more pliable to the Holy Spirit, sanctification progresses, and God continues the process of freeing us from all effects of sin. This process (what the Orthodox call theosis) is sometimes slow, but Jesus will certainly be faithful to complete it. Read More

Do you know what it means for Jesus to be your High Priest?

In the fifth chapter of Hebrews, the author moves from speaking about Jesus as God and and Messiah to Jesus Christ as high priest. It’s important to the author that Jesus did not choose this office for himself. Like the first priest, Aaron, God called him to this office.

Jesus cried out to the God the Father out love for us.

He knows us intimately in our weakness, because he made himself weak like us. He came to the Father in humility, with tears, abandoning himself, and God heard him.

His reverence and respect for God the Father made this possible.

He suffered, learning obedience.

The pattern is striking, isn’t it? Because of Jesus’ call, his response to God, and his suffering, you are called, you are enabled to respond, and you too learn obedience through suffering.

Like Jesus, we also look forward to a resurrection.

The end of the chapter hints at great depths of meaning in the idea of God-in-the-flesh as our High Priest. Yet before we can go on to plumb them, we must get the basics right.

You have to know the story-arc, the characters, the purpose of the Scriptures. Lay a solid foundation so you can practice discernment (distinguishing between right and wrong). Thus grounded, you can venture out to explore and expand your understanding.

Do you know what it means for Jesus to be your High Priest?

Does this move you to awe and thankfulness and worship, or is it confusing?

If it is confusing, have you laid a solid foundation on the Gospel message contained in the whole of Scripture? Have you forgotten “the basic principles of the oracles of God?”