A husband and wife were fighting about who should make the coffee in the morning. The wife says, “You wake up before me you should do it.” The husband says, “It’s part of the cooking so it’s your responsibility.” “No,” the wife says. “It’s in the Bible that the man makes coffee.” The husband says, “Prove it.” So the wife goes and gets the Bible and sure enough, right near the end of the New Testament it says: “HEBREWS”.
Today we begin our study of the letter to the Hebrews and let me just say from the outset that I realize some people have difficulty accepting Christianity because they cannot believe in the central truth claim of Christians: that God became human in Jesus of Nazareth. After all, this is what Christmas is really all about: the Incarnation. But how could Jesus be, at the same time, fully God and fully human? To some, this just does not make sense.
Allow me to give you an illustration that might help. This basic idea comes from C. S. Lewis….
Suppose that I wrote a play and I put myself as a character into that play. There I am in the play, living in Falls Church, Virginia, married to someone named Becky, with three sons named James, Jon, and Josh. Now if I put myself in the play as one of the characters then I, the character, would say whatever I, the author, would say in those various situations that occur in my plot. So I would be incarnate in my play, just as Jesus was incarnate here on earth. But at the same time I would be the playwrite, outside the play, writing it, just as God the Father is outside the universe and outside of time, writing the play that we call history. (Of course the big difference is that God created human beings with free will and playwrites cannot do that.) Now, the “me” in the play would be all me, but he would also be all character, just like Jesus—fully human, fully God. Furthermore, if I made up all the other characters in the play, there would be a little bit of me in each one of those characters—just as a bit of God’s Spirit is in each of us. So there you have the Trinity—God the Father, playwrite, outside of the play, writing it, God the Son as character in the play, and God the Holy Spirit in each of the characters that he creates, but only Jesus is fully God and fully human.
Well, that is a little bit like what the writer to the Hebrews tells us about Jesus in Hebrews 1:1-3….
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
In these majestic verses the anonymous writer to the Hebrews, writing to Jewish Christians somewhere in the Roman Empire sometime in the first century, tells us at least nine powerful things about Jesus. I do not know how you might fill in the blank: Jesus is ________. But here is how the writer to the Hebrews does it....
Jesus is God’s…
- Prophetic Voice
- Appointed Heir
- Creative Agent
- Personified Glory
- Perfect Revelation
- Cosmic Sustainer
- Unique Sacrifice
- Exalted Mediator
If you would like to hear this message “fleshed out” you may click here: Hebrews 1:1-3.