Do You Hear Me Now?

10 Mar

The slap. It’s an action used in so many storylines. Whether in comedies like The Three Stooges movies or in serious drama like the movie Patton where the general goes into a hospital and attempts to slap shellshock out of a private, the slap gets a reaction. The receiver gives the deliverer his full attention. Gibbs in NCIS used a variation of the slap. Instead of on the face, he gave a swat on the back of the head. Sometimes it looked almost playful, but writers or the audience over time considered it, and it is no more. In comedy scenes we laugh. In drama we feel the pain. How should we respond when we see it in the Bible?

A Biblical Slap

The writer of Hebrews slapped his readers to get their attention through his words. They aren’t harsh words. They are full of wonder and love, in fact. However, with it is a “you should know this” theme. Nearly forty percent of the letter—the first five chapters—takes the time to re-establish who Jesus was and is. In case anyone missed why that knowledge is important or has failed to understand why it makes a difference, the writer approached the matter from several viewpoints. Written to the Jewish Christians, he challenged the weakness of their faith and response in their lives to Jesus. He countered their natural tendencies to drift back into their millenniums-old traditions of Judaism.

Moreover, for Christians in that church who hadn’t been Jews, the writer explained the background of each perspective in a way to deepen and expand their understanding and awe of Jesus. His purpose was to bring both Jew and Gentile together into an expression of the single corporate man Christ. And he had to first slap them out of their spiritual slumber. He chided them for having become dull of hearing.

Do you think of Him as…

The writer administered a heavy dose of a fresh look at Jesus. And, it seems like the right medicine for today’s believers. No matter what our experiences have been—before or after knowing Jesus—He is so much more! Listen to how the writer described Jesus: the Son of God, the heir of everything, the active force in creation, the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of God’s likeness, upholding the universe by the word of his power. After eradicating the judgment of sin on mankind, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, becoming much higher than the angels, and God calls him Son. Jesus bears the testimony from the Almighty Himself that he is God’s Son.

In case any “Yeah, but…” remained, the writer continued with quotes from the prophets and King David supporting his claim. As fearsome as any angel or spiritual being might appear to be to anyone, Jesus is greater. That alone is reason to listen and obey his word. If the word of angels is to be harkened, so much more should a word from the Son be honored.

Salvation came through him. Thousands of years of trying to please God got the early Jewish readers of the letter of the law nowhere. Their sin was still upon them. The same holds true for the Gentiles—and by merit of the slap—for all believers who have become dull of hearing, who trust on a one-time confession of faith without the continued and daily devotion to him.

He is more…

Jesus is greater than Moses whom God used to deliver the descendants of Abraham from slavery and unite them as a nation and a people under God. Moses could not take them to that place of rest that Jesus has opened to us.

Following the precepts in the Law of Moses, Israel had their high priests appointed by God, but even Israel (in the loins of Abraham) paid homage to the high priest Melchizedek. Jesus is greater. Today we have great teachers of the Word, but be careful not to honor them too greatly, because Jesus is greater.

I felt the slap on the back of the head. I heard the “Get your head on straight” or the “Get in the game” exhortation accompanying it. Hebrews 1-5 is merely a pinch of how much greater and how much better Jesus is. When we consider He has put His Spirit in us, we should be filled with awe and asking for what He wants to do in and through us next, every day. Let’s not hinder that with those wrong affections I wrote about last week.

 

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