Christ Before Us
Heb 2:1-4 It’s Labor Day weekend, the traditional end of summer and start of a new school year. But many students have been back in class for two weeks already. We hope that they are learning again how to pay attention in class. Perhaps their teachers have given a pep talk: “You must pay the most careful attention to what you hear else…” An exhortation to listen and a warning of the consequences for not doing so: “…else you’ll fail the test, your GPA will suffer, and you won’t get into your choice of school.” The preacher to the Hebrews does a similar thing. After presenting the excellence of the Son in whom God has spoken, he exhorts and warns: “We must pay most careful attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Throughout his sermon he urges us to pay attention to Jesus.
Heb 1:5-14 God spoke in the past to Israel through the prophets, and God has spoken in these last days to us in the Son. On the Emmaus Road Jesus brought these two together, explaining “what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” After his magnificent opening sentence, the author of Hebrews also brings them together, showing how seven OT texts point to Jesus. They reinforce his claim that Jesus has become far superior to the angels. Indeed, Jesus is worthy of worship by angels and by us.
Heb 1:2b-4 “What’s in a name?” said Juliet to Romeo. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But names do matter. We all bear names, and have preferences about how we want to be called. God puts his name on people. OT Israel bore God’s name. God gave the risen and ascended Jesus a name above all names. The people of the New Jerusalem will bear the name of God and the Lamb. What does it mean to bear God’s name?
Heb 1:1-2 We launch a new sermon series, on the Book of Hebrews, entitled Christ Before Us. In the past God spoke to Israel through the prophets, in words preserved as Israel’s Scriptures, what we know as the Old Testament. God has spoken again in his Son, who both fulfills and is better than those Scriptures. He became like us in our humanity, to offer his own self for our atonement, so that we might become like him. The book repeatedly places Jesus before us, urging us to look to Jesus, to see him, to consider him. It also shows how Jesus has gone before us, faithful to the end. He is our faithful forerunner, whom we are called to faithfully follow.