7 Reasons to Praise Jesus
At the beginning of September, I began teaching the Book of Hebrews in a Sunday AM class. This is the first time I have ever studied Hebrews in-depth, much less taught a class on the subject. I knew that Hebrews contained a high, lofty Christology. But I did not expect to find so much packed into the first few verses. In Heb. 1:1-3, we are given a grand vision of the Son of God. I wanted to share these seven truths with you so that you had seven great reasons to praise Jesus today!
1. Jesus will inherit all things.
Jesus is not just the heir of all the nations of the world (as Psa. 2:8 promises); he is the heir of all things, meaning the universe and the world to come (Heb 2:5). This inheritance did not belong to Jesus until he had risen from the dead; only after that event could he say that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to him (Matt 28:18).
This is a glorious thought, to know that though others may deny Jesus' authority and reject him as Lord, Christ will ultimately triumph and inherit all. To reject Jesus is to be on the losing side, to be on the outside looking in at his coming coronation.
2. Jesus is the creator of all things.
I imagine many of you are like me in that you read the account of creation in Gen 1 and naturally, seamlessly think "God the Father" when it says "God created..." But the unequivocal testimony of the early church was that Jesus was the Creator of all things (John 1:3; Col 1:16; 1 Cor 8:6). In fact, early Christian writers took this a step further by pointing out, "The One who created the world will also be the one who redeems it." Let this rest on your heart! The One who created you also knew every sin, every blatant rebellion, every hateful attempt to break his heart, yet he created you anyway! Let this stand as testimony to how passionately Christ loves you!
3. Jesus is the radiance of God's glory.
Just as the sun's rays radiate from it, so Jesus is the radiance of God's glory. When God would make an appearance in the OT, it was often in such an overpowering way that his first words had to be, "Fear not," for people were likely lying prostrate before him. Moses' face would glow after speaking with the Lord; God's glory was too much. Its presence filled the Most Holy Place and killed anyone who got too close illicitly. Yet in Christ, God became "accessible." Though filled with God's glory, that glory in Christ did not crush or enslave others, but rather was willing to serve and love until the end. In Jesus, we see God seeking to approach us in our sin in a way that is not overwhelming. But as we get closer to Jesus' heart, we see again how wondrous his glory really was.
4. Jesus is the exact imprint of God's nature.
The Greek word used in Heb 1:3 means the imprint of a seal. When coins were minted, they were stamped with a seal to impose the likeness of an emperor or king (we do the same thing today with dead presidents). The idea is that the stamp leaves behind an exact imprint of itself; if you want to know what the stamp is like, look at the imprint it leaves behind. Friends tell me I look a lot like my dad, and my family will attest that I act a lot like him...but I'm not him, at least not an exact imprint. But Jesus is an identical imprint of his Father's nature (John 14:9; Col 1:15). The OT offers an incomplete depiction of God's nature, but Jesus perfects it. If we ever think we have a misguided view of God, we need only look at Jesus, and our questions will be answered.
5. Jesus upholds the universe by his word.
When I first read this, I naturally thought of the Greek god Atlas, the one who was punished by the other gods and forced to uphold the world on his shoulders for all time. But though Ephesians talks about everything holding together in Christ, the Hebrews writer here means that Jesus is moving the universe to a decisive end by the word of his power. Put another way, the universe is following the script Christ wrote for it. All things are subject to Christ. So no matter what happens in life—war, Ebola, cancer, recession, the moral decline of Western civilization, Nicholas Cage continuing to act in films, the Dallas Cowboys going another 19 years without winning a Super Bowl—Christians can rejoice that Jesus is Lord of all and is orchestrating every event to a thrilling conclusion.
6. Jesus made purification for sins.
If you had to describe sin as a spiritual reality to someone who had no frame of reference for Christianity, what metaphor or illustration would you use to get the point across? We often refer to sin as a "mistake," as if we accidentally allowed our bank account to be overdrawn and we have to go in and be nice, hoping the bank might refund the fees we incurred. But sin is much worse. We've all had a powerful reminder of the spiritual reality of sin with the sight of hazmat workers going through the apartments and homes of Ebola patients. Sin is a hazardous toxic landfill, yet Christ came to purify us from sin so that we could rejoin God's glorious presence. God came all the way down to earth in the flesh, not to judge us, but to purify and save us (John 3:16-17), thus (according to William Barclay) Christians hear the voice of their Savior pleading, not prosecuting, our case. What a Savior. What a God.
7. Jesus is now sitting at God's right hand.
This final truth may be the one we underestimate the most. In the OT, the right hand was a position of favor, victory, and power. The name Benjamin (Jacob's youngest) meant "son of my right hand," meaning a son of power and favor (and Benjamin was). To sit at the king's right hand was to enjoy his highest favor and trust and authority. Even today, we refer to one as our "right-hand man," and we say we'd give our right arm for something. When Christ ascended to heaven, he went to sit at his Father's right hand, meaning he is now sharing his Father's throne (Rev. 3:21). The significance? Jesus, even now, reigns in glory. Jesus, even now, is King.
Let the nations rage, the peoples plot in vain. Let the president threaten the unborn, the courts undermine marriage, and Texas mayors subpoena churches. Let worlds end, stars fall, and heaven and earth pass away. There will remain a King in Zion. Christ the Lord. May the church labor until praise of his Name is on every tongue to the ends of the earth.
Hallelujuah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
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