All hands on deck. All hands on deck. Man the braces. Shake a leg there.
What’s behind this storm, do you reckon?
Myopathy in the church.
It’s like a ship at sea in a storm. There’s trouble brewing in the church. But what’s myopathy or being myopic? Well, an optometrist would say it’s being nearsighted, but here we mean the inability of some people to see the bigger picture. Yes, in this case, some Jewish Christian converts are still so focused on following the Old Testament prophets that they don’t see the big picture, that all of the prophets are actually pointing to Jesus Christ, and only he can get us to our final destination. You know, with so much persecution, it’s tough to live life as a Christian. Hopefully, this epistle to the Hebrews can help get the church to calmer waters. Now, all of Paul’s other letters are written to specific congregations or specific people, but this one is to Jewish Christians everywhere and to us. But first, a quick note about where this letter came from. In the Bible, the Pauline epistles are in order of length, except for Hebrews, because ancient scholars weren’t exactly certain who wrote it. It was the King James translators who actually added the words the Epistle of Paul. See, for about 400 years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, scholars, theologians, and even politicians argued about what book should be included in the Bible.
Thank heaven Hebrews was included because it’s so awesome and packed with very Paulish teachings. It’s as if Paul and his helpers with one Epic scribe got together to write the ultimate letter about who to focus on in our voyage back to God. In starting right at chapter one, verse one, paul and crew kick things off explaining the relationship between God, jesus, angels, and the prophets. God reveals important things to prophets, while angels have important jobs. But it’s Jesus Christ who sits in glory with a father. Yes, it’s Jesus Christ who descended way, way down from His Godly throne to complete the atonement and save mankind.
He became like us, to be merciful to us. He was tempted like us so he could comfort us. He suffered death so he could conquer.
It and take away the fear of it.
He is the captain of our salvation.
And now it’s time for a round of less than or Greater than. Old Testament prophets definitely knew they were setting the stage for something greater. So let’s welcome our first contestant, Isaiah.
Sir, which is greater, the ax or the lumberjack?
Yeah, I chop wood so my family stays warm through the winter, but I’m actually extra awesome because my bit, the sharp end, is designed as a force multiplier so I can deliver way more cutting power through even the toughest lumber.
Isaiah ah, we’re very grateful for tools, but an ax cannot raise itself above he who swings it. Correct.
And now please welcome our next contestant.
Paul, the Apostle Paul. Which of these is greater?
I’m not just a roof over your head. Look at the careful construction of my eaves and buttresses.
Well, I designed and built you.
What say you, Paul?
Which is hmm the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.
Okay. Now it may seem pretty obvious that the woodsman and the architect are greater than the ax in the house, but who’s even greater? How about the person who created the universe and everything in it? Yeah, god. But that can be easy to forget sometimes. Especially when we see amazing things or meet an impressive person and forget that all good things come from God. Sure, we live in a world full of wonders, and they’re God’s wonders, and he wants us to be part of them, like tiny reflectors of his glory. But when we try to hold on to all that glory ourselves, ouch. We get burned. That’s what Paul continues to teach over the next few chapters in Hebrews, giving examples of tremendous people and things that help us and showing how a focus on Jesus Christ is the greatest wind in our sails. For example, the Sabbath day of rest is great after a week of hard work, right? But it’s also a symbol of the rest offered by the Son of God after a lifetime of hard work which is infinitely greater. Or like the priests in Old Testament times who had the important job of performing sacrifices.
But Jesus is the great high priest who offered Himself as a sacrifice. And even today, there are so many wonderful people around us who serve and help us. But our greatest support is our direct connection to God through the spirit and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the greatest of all, descended from his throne, divine to come to earth. And after completing the Atonement, he is the author of our salvation and he desperately wants to bring us back up with Him and our job trust and obey the greatest of all. But what if another storm comes?
With Jesus Christ and His Gospel, we have a sure hope, an anchor for our souls that’s firm and secure.
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