Monthly Archives: January 2017

The God who identified with me.

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“At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to Him.” -Heb. 2:8

When I think of all the problems, wars and troubles happening in the world and in the country today, I tend to lose hope. To be more specific, when I think of the… things happening in our government and country today, I am so tempted to face palm myself to kingdom come, or host my own pity party, or scream at the top of my lungs.

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I think of all the injustices of the world, and at times I am just rendered speechless. Systemic evil is so real, so overwhelming. (Then I look at my own heart, and I know that my tendency to do evil is so real, and many times this evil is so overwhelming.)

The reality of everything “not yet” in subjection to Christ is so true, so stark. The coming of Christ, and of everything being put to right, seems like a far-fetched dream.

The believers to whom the author of Hebrews was writing to probably felt this way. They probably felt worse, what with the actual threat of losing their lives. The world being put to right seemed like a fantasy.

But the author of Hebrews talks of, and focuses on, Jesus who identified and represented us, who became our Champion.[1] He, too, faced many troubles. He experienced, first hand, how evil the world could be.

He became like me, to save me.

It is a most fascinating, most wondrous thought — Jesus became like me! He became like me who had to sleep and eat, who got hungry, who got exhausted, and became prone to the elements, and potentially got sick. At some point, he probably lost his voice from speaking too long to the crowds.

He felt emotions, and wasn’t ashamed to express them! He felt love, joy, and anger, and grief. He was tempted.

He identified with me. The world is going crazy — he understands. The world seems to be falling apart — he knows. The world has so many injustices — he grieves.

[Reflections on Hebrews 2:5-18]

 

[1] William L. Lane, Hebrews: A Call to Commitment (Vancouver, British Columbia: Regent College).

The God who speaks.

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It is probably the question most asked by Christians all around the world, throughout the centuries: Where is God when the whole world is falling apart? 

I’m studying the book of Hebrews for our New Testament Epistles Class, and I am learning to appreciate the beauty and message of this sermon-epistle.

If it is true that Hebrews was written as a sermon for the persecuted Christians in around AD 64, during Nero’s time, then we have a picture of what its purpose was. It is interesting that the writer-preacher of Hebrews thought that the way to to address the Christians’ discouragement and fear of death was to begin with, and focus on, the Supremacy of Jesus.

Truly, the basis for our courage and confidence is Jesus Christ’s supremacy, and the fact that through Him, God has spoken, and continues to speak.

OUR GOD IS THE GOD WHO SPEAKS. This is the writer-preacher’s message to his  ragtag, disheveled, immensely discouraged and fearful audience.

At a time when the believers may have thought God was absent and blind to their suffering, they are reminded that God still speaks. He has spoken through Jesus, and continues to speak through His written Word, and through the Comforter.

I am reminded of myself last year. I’ve been thinking of this for several days now – how I felt so… numb, especially in the second half of 2016. 2015 to early 2016 was painful, and the rest of 2016 just left me with a dull throbbing. I was mourning so many things — some family issues, heart issues, and the fact that I had to give up so many of what gave me joy, among other things.

I felt like just going through the motions. I felt like God was silent.

Truth be told, I wasn’t excited for the new year. I think… I was even a little afraid that I would be the same joyless machine devoid of motivation and purpose.

But God still speaks. He has spoken, and will continue to speak. He is present, and will always be.

Let me rest in that truth. Let me listen to His voice.

[Reflections on Hebrews 1:1-2:4]

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A good reference for the study of Hebrews, in case you’re interested:

William L. Lane, Hebrews: A Call to Commitment (Vancouver, British Columbia: Regent College).