16 Jan Hebrews 01 – Jesus is better
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
Let me start with a question. How do you get to know someone? This is not a trick question. Let me first tell you what the wrong answer is. Stalking is not how you get to know someone. Guys did you hear that? Oh wait, guys are suck at it. Ladies, did you hear me? Checking out their Instagram, Facebook, path and snapchat is not how you get to know someone. Yes you can get to know a lot about that person. But there is a big difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone. Right now I can tell you so many things about David Beckham that will make me sound like Beckham’s best friend. Why? Because I love the man! I mean seriously, who doesn’t love David Beckham? He is a great athlete, good looking, a fashionista, nice body shape as you can see in many underwear commercial, love his wife and family, and extremely generous with his wealth. But do I know Beckham? No.
What does it take to know someone? I think we all know the answer instinctively. When I was in third grade, I had a puppy-crush with a girl in my class. Her name was Kristine. In my third grade opinion, she was extremely pretty. But I was not sure if she knew who I was. But I wanted to know her. So what did I do? I came up with a genius plan on how to know her. Are you ready? I began to tease her. Ladies, FYI, teasing is the love language of elementary school boys. It just happened that some of us took ages to grow up. So ladies if you get teased a lot by a particular boy, beware. Then as I grew up, the game changed slightly. In my Junior High days, they used to have free 300 text messages per month. So I began to text girls. Then came the internet – MIRC, ICQ and MSN. I was on all of it, trying to broaden my FWN – Future Wife Network. Then they had the unlimited 10 minutes free call. So you would call someone, hang up at 9 minutes 59 seconds and then call again. And they gave you this big fat Three phone that you could use to kill a dog. Anyone? Today, we use medium such as Line, Whatsapp, Instagram message, Facebook message, Snapchat, to get to know someone. We even have free unlimited call and text messaging on our phone plan. The wonder of all wonder is that I’m in all of the above. But why am I still single? But that’s not the point. Let’s go back to my question. What does it take to know someone? What is the common denominator in all those mediums that we used to get to know someone? The answer is simple: communication. The only way to really know someone and not just know about someone is through communication. Why did I tease Kristine? Because by teasing her, I had a medium through which I could communicate and get to know her. I might not think that way on third grade but that was what I did instinctively.
Now let’s bring this understanding to our relationship with Christ. Today we are starting a 2 to 3 years series on the book of Hebrews. And I want to start at the very fundamental understanding that we often overlook in our relationship with Christ. To have a relationship with Christ, we first must know Christ. You cannot be in a relationship with someone you do not know. Then the golden question for today is this – “How do we know Christ?” That’s what I want to talk about today. Knowing Christ. How do we do that? Is it even possible? Who is he anyway? Now let’s apply the same principal that we know about knowing someone to knowing Christ. How do you know Christ? The same way we know other people. Communication. Agree? Now here lies the problem.
Have you ever try to communicate to God? If you do, then you know why this is problematic. Ever since I was young, I was told to wake up early in the morning to have QT with God. So I did. I would wake up early to communicate and have QT with God. I thought by QT they mean quality time with God. I was wrong. It was the other QT – quiet time. Indeed if you ever try to wake up very early in the morning to talk with God, then you know that it was a very quiet time. So I would wake up before the sunrise and speak to God, “God, why am I single? I’m sixteen!” And there was no answer. This may or may not be the question I asked God in my quiet time with God today. I’ll let you guess. But if you ever try to communicate with God directly, then you understand what I mean. After you pour your heart to him, you want an answer. You want him to reply. But it was silent. It’s like talking on the phone to your friend only to have your phone died on you without you realize. Anyone ever experience that? You go, “Hello? Halloo? Haallooo? Are you there? Are you listening?” Then you checked your phone and it was switched off. Or your friend hanged up because you have been talking about the same thing every day for the last month. In the same way, we often talked to God and there was no reply.
Then I was told to attract God’s attention by strumming my guitar and sing to God. So I did. I picked up my guitar in the morning and began to sing ‘heart of worship.’ It was the only song I knew how to play on guitar for months. But still, there was no answer. I expected the heaven to be opened, a light broke through my ceiling, and a voice spoke to me saying, “My son, I am your Father.” But there was none of it. I wondered what went wrong. Maybe it’s my voice. Maybe God doesn’t like my voice. But I’m singing heart of worship. “I bring you more than a song!” Very soon, I became frustrated. It felt like God was not there. Or maybe he was but he was just not interested in communicating with me. Some of my prayers were not answered. Life seems to be getting harder. Temptation is getting stronger. Doubt is overwhelming. Pain is getting more real. Desperation is creeping. And faith is lagging. To which we all say, “God, are you there? (echo). Why don’t you speak to me? If I can only hear you speak to me and not be silent! Just a word is enough…” Anyone been there?
Our passage for tonight will answer that question for us. The book of Hebrews is considered to be hardest book in the New Testament. If you read it, then you would know why. It has a lot of Old Testament imageries and quotations that will confuse you unless you know your Old Testament well. But it is also said to be one of the most rewarding books in the whole Bible. I began to study the book of Hebrews earlier this month and I can honestly tell you that these four verses are absolutely stunning. I won’t be able to do justice to the richness of these verses in one sermon. But my hope for tonight is simply giving you the framework for you meditate and chew on these verses on your own throughout the week. So yes, I’m giving you homework. Take some time every day this week to meditate on these verses using the framework that I’ll give you. In fact, memorize these verses if you can. I pray as you do that that the Holy Spirit will illuminate these verses for you. Can we do that? Yes? No? Maybe? Okay let’s move on.
Let me give you some context for the book of Hebrews. We have no idea who wrote the book. Some say Paul, some say Apollos, some say Barnabas and many other guesses. We simply don’t know. My money is on Apollos but I can be wrong. But what we do know is whoever the author is, he is well verse in his understanding of the Old Testament. Can we trust a book that we have no idea who the author was? YES. Because from the very first century, the book of Hebrews is already regarded as Scriptures. So let’s put it out there. We have no idea who the author was. But we do know why he wrote it. The book of Hebrews is written to a Jewish church or group of Jewish churches that were struggling to follow Jesus. We found in the book of Hebrews that there were many Christians who faced severe persecution. Many loved ones were suffering. There were self-professed Christians who walked away from initial faith. They were faced with many temptations of the world. They not only persecuted by the Roman Government, they are also rejected by their Jewish communities and families. They found out that Christian’s life is not easy. And not only that, they are tempted to leave Jesus behind and return to Judaism.
This is the situation that the book of Hebrews is addressing. I hope you find some encouragement in this. Because this is the story of our life. If anyone ever tell you that Christian’s life is easy, they are not Christian. Period. Following Jesus does not make your life better. That’s fairy tale. Following Jesus is extremely costly. Jesus did not come to make your life better but he came to show you that he is better than life. That’s the heartbeat of the book of Hebrews. Jesus is infinitely better! Better than what? Everything. Jesus is better than the angels, Moses, the prophets, Aaron and the Levitical priests, the blood sacrifices of the Old Covenant, the tabernacle and the temple. The book of Hebrews is not saying that all of those things were bad. They were all good but Jesus is better. And to know him is eternal life. So don’t go back to your old ways and the old system of the Old Covenant but press on in your faith in Christ and become more mature in him.
The key to maturity in Christ is to know him! But how do we know him? I’m glad you asked. I’ll give you three frameworks. But this time I won’t tell you in advance what they are because it will give away the whole sermon. I’ll tell you as the sermon progress.
Hebrews 1:1 – Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets.
The first framework is very simple yet paradigm changing. God is not silent. He is a speaking God! I know it’s very simple but let me ask you one question: Do we believe that? Because a lot of time we affirm this truth with our mind and words but we do not believe it with our heart. Why? Because our experiences tell us that we did not hear him speak. Often times we think of God like a force in the universe. That’s not God; that’s Star Wars. The very first thing the author of Hebrews wants us to know is that God is a God who communicates. He is a person that we can have a relationship with. He wants us to listen to him, trust him, love him and obey him. But is it possible that he has been speaking this whole time and we have not been listening? Is it possible that God has been communicating with us through a different mean from one we expected? Is it possible that you close your ear and keep checking your Whatsapp, Line, Snapchat, and Instagram for a message from God while he is standing in front of you, speaking to you? The answer from the author of Hebrews is a BIG YES!
God is not only a speaking God but he also speaks at many times and in many ways by the prophets. This is very encouraging. God knows that every one of us are wired differently. He knows how to communicate in different ways to different people at different times. Let’s do a quick survey. How many of you love engaging stories? God communicates himself to you through the books of Genesis and Exodus. The book of Genesis is filled with stories after stories of people’s adventure in their walk with God. How many of you love history? I love history. For those of you who love history, God communicates himself through the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings. You’ll find story of God in the history of Israel’s kingdom in those books. How about Romance? Read Song of Solomon sometime. You’ll be flustered! For the mello type, God got you covered. He communicates through the emotional ride of the book of Psalms. God is not intimidated by your mello-ness. And for the lawyer type, he gives the book of Leviticus just for you.
The point is this – God is a God who communicates and he communicates in many different ways and places so we do not have excuse. The question is not whether God speaks or not. The question is, are we listening? This verse is a big smack in the face for me who a lot of times questioned God’s silence. He was never silent. I was the one who did not listen. I was too busy checking whatsapp for a reply from God while he stood in front of me. But as amazing as this verse is, it is just a set up for what is to come. Listen to what the author says next.
Hebrews 1:1-2 – Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.
This verse is a game changer! The word many times and many ways literally means in bits and pieces. So the writer of Hebrew is making a big contrast here. There was a time where God speaks in bits and pieces here and there through the prophets. Praise God for Abraham. Praise God for Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, Solomon, Jonah, Hosea, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and many other Old Testament prophets and heroes. Through each of them, God reveals himself in bits and pieces. But that day was no more. It does not matter how awesome they are, they are only fragmentary and incomplete. In these last days, God no longer speaks to us in fragments. The term last days is a New Testament idiom referring to a period of time beginning at Jesus’ birth until he returns for second time. So today, we are living in last days. And in these last days, God no longer withhold anything back from us. He does not speak to us in pieces. He speaks to us in full. That means there will not come a day where God need to add anything else to his word. God will never say, “oops I forgot to tell you something else. I’ll send you Jesus 2.0 and he will be Asian and have small eyes. He shall be called Yosi.” No that day will never come. God has spoken to us in full by his Son. Jesus is the finality of God’s words to us! He is the embodiment of everything God wants to communicate to us in full!
What does it mean for us today? It means that everything we learned in the Old Testaments through the prophets points us to Jesus. The Old Testament consists of 39 books written by many different people in the spam of 4000 years. But all of them has a singular focus. They tell bits and pieces of who God is and what he is trying to communicate to us.
Anyone like to play jigsaw puzzle? I don’t. I heard some people enjoy doing it as a stress reliever. That does not work for me. I’m a bit of OCD. That mean I’m the type that like everything to be in order. If you’ve been to my room, you would know that I have few book racks in my room. I have racks for books that I already read and different rack for those that I have not read. And in those rack, I ordered my books according to the author’s last name from A-Z. And not only that, if there are many books from the same author, I want to be sure that the books are ordered alphabetically by the first letter of their title. One of the thing that really frustrate me right now is that I ran out of space in book shelves for the book that I already read. But I still have space in my other shelve for unread book. But me being me, I can’t stand looking at already read book in unread shelve. So I leave those books stacked on my bed counter. Needless to say, I do not enjoy jigsaw puzzle. Especially those with few thousand pieces. It’s not a stress reliever; it is a stress maker for me.
So the way God communicates in the past is like jigsaw puzzle. You have different pieces of puzzle scattered in different places. But all those pieces are creating a single picture. Praise God today you don’t have to guess what God is trying to communicate anymore. He makes it abundant clear to us. In Jesus, you see the complete puzzle. He is what those pieces are designed for. Jesus is the picture of the complete puzzle.
So now the question is, what is it that God tries to communicate with us through this complete picture? When we look at the full picture of the puzzle, what does it tell us? If Jesus is God’s final word, what is he saying? Pay attention to verse 2 again. “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” The literal translation of the word ‘by his Son’ is ‘in Son.’ This is what it means. In the day of past, the prophets speak the word of God in bits and pieces. But this time it’s different. Jesus not only speaks the word of God; he is the word of God! In another word, God is communicating to us not only through what Jesus says but through who Jesus is. Everything he is, everything he does, everything he says, is God’s word to us. Jesus is the embodiment of everything God wants to communicate to us. Just a quick note, it does not mean that God does not speak any other way. The Bible is clear that God speaks in many other ways. Through dreams, vision, prophecy and sometime he even speaks audibly to you. One thing is clear though, God will never say anything that is not consistent with the revelation of Jesus that we see in the Bible. The revelation of Jesus in the Bible is the final standard through which every other revelation must be judged. And this is how we are to understand and interpret the Old Testament. If you try to understand the Old Testament without Jesus, you will only get bits and pieces of puzzle. So the question is not whether God speaks or not. The question is, are we listening?
Hebrews 1:1-4 – Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
So If God is speaking to us in Jesus, what is he saying to us today? Today, my goal is simply to help you to listen to him. Will you listen to him? Because he is constantly speaking to you. There are seven things he is communicating to us through this verse. Why seven? Those of you who are familiar with numbers in the Bible knows that seven is a number of completion. The point is clear: Jesus is the complete picture of everything God wants to communicate to us. Furthermore, these 7 statements showed the three great Old Testament offices: prophet, priest and king. And Jesus is the completion of those three offices. Relax, I won’t go into much detail on each one. It will literally take eternity for us to grasp the depth of what Jesus is communicating to us. Even eternity will not suffice. So I’m just going to give you the frameworks for you to ponder on it this week as you meditate and memorize these verses. Keller refers to these verses as ‘nose-bleed Christology’ because it reveals Christ’s amazing supremacy. Get ready for spiritual nose-bleed.
- Jesus is the Creator of the world. Let me read you a quote that I read on one of the commentary as I study for this passage.
“Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking, who has been called “the most brilliant theoretical physicist since Einstein,” says in his best-selling A Brief History of Time that our galaxy is an average-sized spiral galaxy that looks to other galaxies like a swirl in a pastry roll and that it is over 100,000 light-years across—about six hundred trillion miles. He says, “We now know that our galaxy is only one of some hundred thousand million that can be seen using modern telescopes, each galaxy itself containing some hundred thousand million stars.” It is commonly held that the average distance between these hundred thousand million galaxies (each six hundred trillion miles across and containing one hundred thousand million stars) is three million light-years! On top of that, the work of Edwin Hubble, based on the Doppler effect, has shown that all red-spectrum galaxies are moving away from us—and that nearly all are red. Thus, the universe is constantly expanding. Some estimates say that the most distant galaxy is eight billion light-years away—and racing away at two hundred million miles an hour. Finally, the fact of the expanding universe demands a beginning, though Hawking now doubts that a Big Bang was its beginning.”
How many of you were lost as I read this quote? Don’t worry. Me too. The point is that this world, or the better translation for the word ‘world’ in this verse is actually the word ages, which a perfect description of what we know today as the ever-expanding universe, this ages is bigger than what any human mind can comprehend. Hawking himself, the most atheist of all atheist scientists, doubts that a Big Bang can cause all of these. He is at lost explaining the beginning of the universe. But we don’t have too. The intricate design of the universe requires a creator. And we know who it is. Not because we are smarter than Hawking but because it’s been revealed to us. Jesus is God’s agent of creation. In the beginning there was nothing and then God began to create through his word. And that word is Jesus. Jesus is the agent of creation. He creates everything out of nothing. He is the creator!
When you look at the stars in the sky, when you look at the beautiful colors of a rainbow, when you go up a mountain and look at the beautiful sight in front of you, when you hear the sound of waves in the ocean, when you enjoy your medium rare wagyu steak, or even when you enjoy your warm Indomie with egg on a cold day, it is Jesus speaking to us, “I created all of these. Are you listening to me?” Well of course Jesus did not cook Indomie for you. He is not your maid. That would be freaky. But he is the one who made it possible for us to have Indomie. There is nothing too hard for him. He can make the impossible possible with a single word. Are you listening to him?
- Jesus is the heir of all things. I love it. John Piper says that if Jesus is the heir of all thing, then he can make good in all that he promises. Did you hear that? Because Jesus will inherit everything in the end, there is not a single good promise that he gives you that he will not fulfil! That means that if he promises in Romans 8:28, “For those who love God all things work together for good,” then all things will work together for good for sure. Even if we do not understand it now or experience it in this lifetime. But it will be good! Why? Because if he is the heir of all things, he can make good on all his promises. So what is it that you face today? Sickness? Loss of a loved one? Jobless? Divorce? Singleness? He will make it good! He will not fail to deliver. The world is not only made by Jesus but it is made for Jesus. He is the rightful heir. Are you listening to him?
- Jesus is the sustainer of the universe. Jesus is not only the creator and the owner of all things, he is the sustainer of all things. Let me ask you few questions. Why does the sun rises and sets every day? Why does the earth stay in its orbit? Do you know that if the earth’s rotation slow down, we would either freeze or burn? Do you know that if the sun is just a bit closer to us that we would either freeze or burn? Do you know that if the moon didn’t remain at its exact distance from the earth, the ocean tides would swallow the land completely twice a day? Who holds all this thing together? Who keeps all this perfect balance in tact? It is not automatic. There is no way. Listen to this. It cannot be clearer. Jesus holds the universe together by the word of his power! If for whatever reason Jesus withdraw his power for even just a millisecond, everything in the universe would crumble.
This is a massive encouragement for the Christian Jews and for us. Because lots of times in life, we lose balance easily. We feel overwhelmed at our situations. We feel like giving up. We don’t know if we can make it. Exams are too hard. Parents are too strict. Boyfriend or girlfriend left us. Parents are divorced. Life is a mess. We are persecuted and rejected by our loved ones. But today, listen! The same Jesus who sustains the universe, is the same Jesus who can and will sustain your life. He is not only the heir of all things that will fulfil all his good promises for you. But he is also the one that will sustain you to the end. And he does it through his words! Everything is held together because he speaks it. In these 3 statements, Jesus is fulfilling the office of a king. He is the perfect King. Are you listening to him?
- Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God. The next two statements shows how Jesus complete the office of the prophet. Let me put it in analogy for you. Few weeks ago, Sydney’s weather was terrible. It was raining and pouring every day. Do you guys remember? At that time, the sun is there but we don’t really see it or feel like it’s there. But what happen once the rain is over? You walk out and you can see the sky is clearing and a bright light emitting from the sky. Because of this light, everything around you looks brighter. And not only brighter, but it also makes you feel warmer. My question, what cause it? The simple answer is the sun. The rays emitted from the sun allow us to enjoy the sun. In the same way, Jesus enables us to enjoy God. Without Jesus we won’t be able to enjoy God. Jesus radiates the very nature of God. To see Jesus is to see God. This is something that a prophet cannot do. Prophet is a servant of God. They bring a message from God but they are not God. They are the servants of God. But son is different. The son is the manifestation of the father by being who he is. Me and om Joe can say the same thing on behalf of my dad. But it carries different weight. Not saying that om Joe is a servant but it is because I am my dad’s son. Do you want to know what God thinks of you? Look at Jesus. Do you want to know what God is like? Look at Jesus. Do you have any question about God? Look at Jesus. Do you want to hear God speaks? Look at Jesus. He is the radiance of the glory of God. Jesus is God shining forth. Are you listening to him?
- Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature. The author of Hebrews is emphasizing the fact that Jesus is not only the radiance of God’s glory, but he is exactly like God in every way. With another word, Jesus is not less than God. He himself is God. Everything God is, it is made visible through Jesus. You never have to second guess the nature of God again. Everything there is to know about God is revealed in Jesus. This is emphasizing on the supremacy of God’s final word. There will be no greater revelation of God than Jesus. He is not another prophet. He is God himself. He is it. He is God’s final word to us. Jesus is not bringing us God’s word, he is God’s word! And what’s mind boggling is that this God actually came to earth and take on human flesh in order to communicate fully with us!
I heard Timothy Keller once tell a story about an author by the name of Dorothy Sayers. Dorothy Sayers was a very popular British crime novel author. One of her most popular work was on detective named Lord Peter Wimsey. So in her novel Wimsey was an aristocrat who loves to solve mysteries. This is where it gets interesting. As Dorothy continue to develop Wimsey’s character in her novel, she fell in love with him. So what did she do? How can she communicate with Wimsey which was her creation? She writes herself into the story. In her later novel, there appear a girl who is exactly like Dorothy, who hold the same credential as Dorothy, who goes to the same school as her and also a crime novel author. The girl meets Lord Peter Wimsey and they fell in love and get married in the story. In a similar but a lot greater and more amazing way, this is what God is doing with us. He writes himself into his story in the person of Jesus. Why? Because that’s the only way we might truly know him. Are you listening to him?
- Jesus is the purifier of sins. This and the next statement is Jesus fulfilling the office of a priest. We can spend another hour just to talk about this but I won’t. This is one of the main reason why God writes himself in the story. Because someone need to pay for our sins. You have to understand something about the nature of sins. Sin is not just wrongdoing toward other people. Sin is first and foremost a rebellion against God! Every act of sin, no matter how small, is an act of treason against God. And the just punishment for treason is death! Do not take sin lightly. Every drop of sin incurred the just wrath of God. And if God is angry toward you, who can save you from his wrath? Answer – no one but God himself. And this is what he did. He writes himself into the story in the person of Jesus, and absorb all of God’s wrath on our behalf so that whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but can have relationship and eternal life with the living God. My friend, this is the gospel. Jesus took the punishment of sins that is ours so that he can give us the right standing with God that is his.
And what’s amazing about this purification is it’s a done deal. Pay attention to the word. It does not say that Jesus will make purification for our sins or that Jesus is right now making purification for our sin. It says that after Jesus making purification of sins, which tells us that it’s something that happen in the past. The cross is a done deal. Jesus has accomplished it and he would not do it again.
One of the thing that we struggle the most in life is the fact that we often time feel unworthy to come to God. We feel like we do not deserve his love because we fail too many times. We feel like he won’t accept us because of where we are in life. We might believe that Jesus died for our past sins, but sometime we question, “what happen if we sin today or tomorrow? Would God cleanse my present and future sin?” And the answer is YES and YES. All your sins are future sins if you view it from Jesus’ cross. And Jesus will not die a second time. When he died for your sins, he not only died for your past sins, he died for all of your sin. The sin that you commit last night, yesterday, last month, 10 years ago, and the sin that you are about to commit tonight, tomorrow, next week, even 25 years from now, he paid it in full already at the cross! Jesus is the one-time perfect sacrifice for all of your sins. The cross of Jesus allows you constant access to come to know Christ. There is not a single day where he loves you less because you mess up and there is not a single day where he loves you more because you do well. The cross of Christ makes you perfectly holy and righteous in the sight of God. This is the gospel. It’s breathtaking and it’s extremely glorious. Are you listening to him?
- Jesus sat down at the right hand of God. Why did he sit down? Few answers. First, because his work was done. If somehow a time machine was invented and you can go back to the days of tabernacle and temple, you will see that none of the priests are sitting down. They are very busy making sacrifices after sacrifices. You will not find any of them sitting down and you will not find a chair to sit on. Their work is never finished because it can never fully takeaway sins. But Jesus is different. He completed his job. By one offering he perfected forever them that are sanctified. Jesus does not need to make a second offering. His offering is final and it’s done. So he sat.
Second, to sit at the right hand of God means that Jesus is right now ruling with God. Not tomorrow, not when he returns again but at this very moment, Jesus is already enthroned in Heaven. Every power, every dominion, every kingdom, every sickness, every molecule in the universe, is under his reign. And a day will come that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. That’s why Paul can confidently declares in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height or depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As if that’s not enough, allow me to add another one. Third, for Jesus to sit at the right hand of God means that he is continually praying and interceding for us. Romans 8:34, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Can you imagine that? The same Jesus who reign over the universe is praying for you and me. I don’t know about you but it gives me hope knowing that the King of kings is praying for me. Because I know by my own strength I won’t make it. But if he is praying for me, he will not fail. He desires to know us more than we will ever desire to know him. This is what God is constantly communicating to us in Jesus. My question today is, are you listening to him?
Now let me summarize these meaty four verses for you. The author is saying, “Stop looking to anything else beside Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of everything the Old Testament teaches. Jesus is the better and perfect King; He is the better and perfect Prophet; He is the better and perfect Priest. He completed his duty and nothing can be added to his work because there is nothing more to do. He is the ultimate revelation of God and everything about God can be known through him. Jesus Christ is God’s ultimate word to us. So don’t go back to your old ways and do not trade him for anything else. There is nothing better than him.”
So let’s go back to our main question for today. Can we know him? Can we communicate with him? Is he communicating with us? Is it possible for us to grow in our relationship with him? The answer is YES, YES, YES and YES. How? Remember the three frameworks. First, God speaks. Second, God speaks in Christ. And third, listen. So let’s combine the three frameworks into one, and you’ll find your answers. God speaks in Christ. Listen! He is constantly speaking in Jesus. Whatever your question is, whatever you need, whatever your struggle is, whatever your doubts are, he is speaking to you in Jesus. I know that in our dark valleys, a lot of time we do not hear him speak. We often time ask God if he would just speak to us. Even just a word is enough. This is what the Christian Jews felt. They are tempted to leave Jesus behind and go back to Judaism. But the truth is that he never stops speaking. He has given us more than a word. He gives us Jesus. The message of the book of Hebrews is loud and clear. Jesus is better. So don’t go back to your old ways. Don’t trade him for anything else. He is right here for you. Will you listen?
How do we listen to Jesus? The same way I just show you how. Through the Bible. Jesus is God’s final word to us. We find Jesus in the words of the Bible. The whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation is all about him. That’s how you get to know Jesus. That’s how you listen to God. That’s how you grow in your relationship with Jesus. The Bible is God’s primary way to communicate to us. Get to know Jesus through the Bible. Master the book. And you will constantly hear him speaking to you. Jesus is God’s final word to us. Listen to him!
- How did God speaks in the Old Testament and how does it change in the New Testament? What is the relationship between the two Covenants?
- “Jesus is better.” This is the theme of the book of Hebrews. List the 7 reasons why Jesus is better from Hebrews 1:1-3.
- With this understanding, how should we read and interpret the Old Testament? Should we study the Old Testament or should we just ignore it? Why and why not?
- “God is always speaking to us in Christ.” How should this change our relationship with God? How do we listen to God?
- How are we tempted to forsake Jesus and go back to the Old Covenant?