Hebrews 1-2, Psalm 25
There is a sign on the Wellington River which flows into Niagra Falls: Do you have an anchor? Do you know how to use it? For us, the people of God, our anchor is the Word of God. We are in the sea of life and without an anchor we are all prone to drift. The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who were under heavy persecution and were tempted to drift or revert back to their previous traditions in order to avoid these trials and difficulties. This book shows that Christianity is the natural successor to Judaism, and that Jesus is superior to angels, prophets, Moses , Joshua, etc. in fact, He is our Great High Priest. Unfortunately almost 2000 years later many "Christians" have stripped anything resembling Judaism out of Christianity and most Jews never see Christianity as a continuation of Judaism but as a pure Gentile movement. Since many have lost their anchor we have forgotten our roots, and without the Bible anything can be sold as true and then absorbed into tradition and followed by the masses. Many don't realize that Jesus, his disciples, all the writers of Scripture (except Luke) were Jewish. Most don't realize that for the first 15 years after Jesus ascended the entire movement was completely Jewish and was viewed as a sect of Judaism moving in a different direction than Rabbinic Judaism. Many don't realize that in the early days this did not represent two distinct movements but a Jewish Civil War. The earlier question was: Can you be a Gentile and believe in Jesus? Any Christian who deems the Old Testament irrelevant misses the reality of their faith and despises their roots.
Hebrews begins with a powerful statement which should be read in it's entirety to be absorbed, in Hebrews 1:1-4 it says, "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." That the Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Jesus is actually Michael the archangel or the Mormons who teach that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer (fallen angel) is shown to be heretical by this portion of Scripture along with many others. Paul warned in Colossians 2:18, "Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,". In Philippians 2:9-10, Paul said, "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,". The author tells those receiving his letter in Hebrews 2:1,3, "Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away...how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,". Trying to find another way in life is foolish. Either our sins will be judged on the cross, if we accept His sacrifice for us, or we will be personally judged for them for all eternity. There is no way out of this, no escape. He states in 2:15, "and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,". Without Christ everyone is in bondage to sin and death.
Probably every day I hear at least one of my patients say, "If you have your health you have everything". Sounds so good, but is so wrong. The true statement should be, "If you have Jesus you have everything". This is the statement that frees us from the bondage of sin and death. The author of Hebrews is beginning his defense that Jesus is superior to everything else, in those days: angels, Moses, etc. Today, we have a different problem, the angels and early Biblical figures don't hold as much weight now as people worshipping themselves, their opinions, their spouses, their children, their money and lifestyle. Same problem, just a different idol to focus on. Though many like to question the fairness and justice of God by giving the example of someone who would have difficulty hearing the gospel message, we don't have specific explanations for each instance, but we can all be rest assured that we serve and trust a God who is 100% fair, 100% love and 100% just, who is more than adequate to do so, and He sent His Son to each and every one of us, if we would only come to Him in humility.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: