Monday, January 16, 2006

Hebrews 4:14-5:6

The author of this treatise or long essay which we call Hebrews pursued at least three major themes with his readers.

The author praised the exalted person, character, and accomplishments of Jesus in relation to God. Jesus radiated the glory of God. He uniquely revealed and lived the nature and will of God. Upon completion of his life, death, and resurrection in fulfillment of God’s purposes, Jesus ascended into heaven to dwell with God in perfect unity and love.

The author rejoiced in the humble person, character, and accomplishments of Jesus in relation to humanity. Jesus descended to dwell with us, to unite himself to us in mercy and love. He took upon himself all that it means to be human in a world both created by God and estranged from God: all the truth, beauty, and goodness; and all the sorrow, suffering, and death. Jesus did this, not in alienation from or resistance to God (which is sin), but in perfect collaboration with or obedience to God (which is righteousness).

On the basis of these two dimensions of Jesus – his exalted and humbled “sides,” or, his divinity and humanity, unified in the one person and work of Jesus – the author encouraged and exhorted his readers. He encouraged them with the good news that Jesus, in love, shared all that they experienced. No circumstance of life was beyond Jesus’ understanding, empathy, and aid. And, he exhorted them to hold fast to this good news, to Jesus himself. No circumstance of life should loosen, degrade, or put an end to this grasp or pursuit of Jesus. In these ways, the author of Hebrews called his readers to live truly, consistently, and increasingly in faith, hope, and love.

Today, we are those readers. Will we praise Jesus? Will we rejoice in Jesus? Will we take courage from Jesus? Will we hold fast to Jesus? In sum, will we live – ever more and more – in faith, hope, and love?

Gregory Strong

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