Friday, January 10, 2014

Honest to God

Hebrews 1:1  Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2  but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3  He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4  having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. 5  For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you"? Or again, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son"? 6  And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7  Of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire." 8  But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. 9  You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions." 10  And, "In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11  they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like clothing; 12  like a cloak you will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never end."

While Hebrews does not identify its author, or the intended readers, we do know that its recipients have been persecuted in the past (Heb 10:32-34) and continue to be persecuted (Heb 12:3-13).  This letter encourages its recipients to remain faithful to the way of Jesus, even when tempted to turn back to their former beliefs.

Hebrews 1: 1-12 teaches that Jesus reflects the glory of God, and having purified humanity from sin, he sat at God’s right hand, becoming superior to the angels. This is an affirmation of the Christian credal statements since the earliest times. What is awkward is that it uses Psalm 45:6-7 as evidence. However this psalm is a love song for the marriage of King David to a foreign princess from Tyre in Phoenicia. This is a “bending” of the text to support a teaching - Oops! It seems that a Christian teacher has taken a short cut with an earlier sacred writing.

This is not new – and far too many preachers and teachers continue to do this today. Let us as Christ-followers commit ourselves to a rigorous reading of our Bible, rather than lifting “proof texts” to bolster our opinions. 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are seated at the right hand of the Father: lead us in truthful ways today. May your Spirit help us to read our Scriptures with honesty, so that we may become people of the Truth. Amen

The first Sunday after Epiphany
7. The Son of God
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 52.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.    

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