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Hebrews 1:16, 1014; 2:14 comment (0)

July 31, 2008

By Jerry W. Batson

Related Scripture: Hebrews 1:16, 1014; 2:14

Bible Studies for Life
Associate Professor of Divinity (Retired), Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

A Focused Life
Hebrews 1:1–6, 10–14; 2:1–4

Life is filled with distractions. Many voices and images contend for our attention. The distractions are enemies of a focused life. The person who can focus and maintain it is most likely to succeed, whether in school, business, sports or life generally. An old saying puts it like this: If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.

Focus is important in the Christian life. Jesus declared that a person cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). The fact that church members are pulled in many directions affects church attendance. Lack of spiritual focus explains indifference and stunted growth in the Christian life. Hebrews calls for life to be focused on Jesus, Who is declared to be the perfect and most complete revelation of God. This lesson sets forth two basic truths about God’s self-revelation in Jesus and then issues a serious warning about neglecting that revelation.

God Has Spoken (1:1–3)
Hebrews opens with the foundational truth about revelation by declaring that God has spoken. In time past, He spoke through prophets. God’s word through the prophets came at different times and in different ways. When God was ready to reveal His final word to humankind, He spoke by Jesus, His Son. The superiority of Jesus makes the revelation given through Him superior to all prior revelation.

Jesus’ superiority is seen in His person and work. In His person, Jesus is the manifestation of God’s glory, as well as the expression of God’s nature. In His work, Jesus, Who sustains all things, also made purification for sins. When He finished His redemptive work, He sat down at the Father’s right hand in heaven.

Since God has spoken ultimately and completely in Jesus, believers need to make an effort to know Jesus. Every person needs to be saved from sin and enter a personal relationship with God. No one needs to look beyond Jesus for any greater revelation about God. No religious figure has appeared since Jesus who can add to the truth as it is in Christ Jesus.

Jesus Is Superior (1:4–6, 10–14)

Hebrews quotes the Old Testament to show Jesus’ superiority to angels. For one thing, Jesus is God’s Son, whereas angels are His servants. So Hebrews asks, To which angel did God ever say, “You are my Son?” Then there is the matter of worship. Angels are worshipers, whereas Jesus is the One worshiped.

Angels are created beings, whereas Jesus shared in the creation of all things. And then there is the matter of exaltation and authority. Has God ever invited an angel to sit at His right hand? Has God ever revealed that He intends to make the angels’ enemies their footstool? In short, Jesus is God’s Son and as such, He is both exalted and unchanging.

Several implications flow from the conviction that Jesus is superior. Believers need to focus attention on Jesus, because, as God’s Son, He alone deserves our worship. Believers shouldn’t regard any other spiritual authorities as greater than Christ or even equal to Him. Given Jesus’ superiority, believers need to engage in serious Bible study to gain a deeper understanding of and devotion to Him.

The Consequences of Neglect (2:1–4)
The “therefore” in Hebrews 2:1 makes everything written in Chapter 1 the basis for a serious warning. Because of Jesus’ superiority, believers are warned not to neglect the message about Him. We need to pay attention to Jesus, because ignoring Him leads to serious spiritual problems. Paying attention goes beyond merely hearing Jesus’ words; it embraces obeying Him. Believers must be committed to carrying out Jesus’ instructions.

This warning’s wording has to do with neglecting salvation. When we neglect Jesus, we neglect the salvation that we have been given through Him. We neglect our salvation by losing our focus on Jesus. Failure to keep one’s life focused on Jesus results in spiritual drifting. We combat tendencies to drift by staying tightly tied to Jesus as the focal point of Christian experience. When we are focused on Jesus, we are choosing God’s best for our lives, since Jesus is God’s final and superior revelation of Himself and of His plan for humans.

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