Posts Tagged “J.B. Phillips”

1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The 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.
Hebrews 1:1-3 (NIV)

A primary theme of Hebrews is that Christ and the new covenant is far superior to Judaism and the old covenant. Written to Jewish Christians – “Hebrews” – who were facing persecution and the temptation to step back from Christ and Christianity, the unknown author wrote a book of tremendous encouragement and theology. And he or she starts off with a bang. (Yes, there is some speculation that the book was written by Priscilla, a woman, but most scholars guess it was written by Apollos.) The first 3 verses make these statements about Jesus:

  1. Jesus was God’s messenger for the new covenant. In the Old Testament, God spoke through prophets. In “these last days” He spoke to us through Jesus.
  2. Jesus is the heir of all things. He owns it all.
  3. Jesus is the creator of the universe. All things were made through Him.
  4. Jesus is the sustainer of the universe. He holds everything together by his “powerful Word.” The New Living Translation says He holds everything together by “the mighty power of His command.”
  5. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory. The King James Version uses the word “brightness.” The glory of God fully shines through His Son.
  6. Jesus is the “exact representation” of God. This is what made it possible for Him to say “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9b, NIV)
  7. Jesus purified us from our sins. He removed the stain of our sin so that we can enter the presence of a Holy God.
  8. Jesus sat down at the right hand of God. John Calvin said “To sit at God’s right hand is to be helmsman of the universe.”*

That really is starting out with a bang! J.B. Phillips wrote a book titled Your God is Too Small. When I read these three verses in Hebrews, I suspect that my Jesus is too small. Or rather, my perception of Jesus is too small. Because He is big enough to hold the universe together with a single Word/Command. He is heir to all of creation and everything in it. He is the exact representation of God and the helmsman of the universe. This is the same Jesus who invites me to come to Him when I am weary, discouraged, hurting or in need.

When we read Ephesians a few weeks ago, I was struck by the following verse:

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:16

It is our faith that extinguishes ALL the flaming arrows of the enemy. When I look at the description of Jesus that is given in Hebrews, I know that if I truly believed it – if the knowledge of who Jesus is truly resided in the deepest parts of my mind, soul and spirit, that faith would easily extinguish all the flaming arrows of the devil.

Lord, thank you for faith. I pray that as we read Hebrews you will grow our faith. I don’t want to be a lip syncing Christian, mouthing words I’ve read or heard. I want to believe them in a way I’ve never believed them before – with confidence that they will win all my battles for me and with reverence and awe and wonder at who You truly are.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

*Quoted from Royal Sacrament, Ronald Ward (London: Marshall, Morgan, and Scott, 1958), p. 32; in Hebrews: Pilgrim’s Progress or Regress? Jim Townsend (Elgin: David C. Cook Publishing Co., 1987), p. 16.

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