How can religion quickly be understood? One could answer, by it’s people. And sadly while that would be a great answer it’s not entirely practical, as often times from any religion comes a facet of extremism or liberalism that violates the religion itself. Perhaps another answer could be, by it’s sacred texts. For the Hindu’s the Vedas, for Islam the Quran and us as Christians the Bible. This is a highly accurate answer, but it’s only half the answer. Taken by itself and the nature of the sacred writings, it often takes time and effort before the sacred text can be understood correctly. So what is the answer then?
I would state the person, prophet and central figure of those sacred texts. Looking at a person, their life and what they have accomplished or done, is highly relatable to us as humans. And for understanding Christianity, there is only one person, one figure and that is the person of Jesus Christ. While there may be a plethora of sources regarding Jesus Christ, the final authority on who Jesus is, His life and what He did is the Bible.
Let’s turn to Hebrews 1 and gain a glimpse of Jesus.
Literal Understanding of Verse:In the past, during different times and in different ways, God spoke to man by the prophets.
Explanation: There are two interesting things to note here, (a) Division and (b) Adaptation. Firstly, God spoke to His people at different times of history. Here is God breaking up His messages, across periods (or blocks) of time. These are divisions. Examples of these would be, God speaking to Adam and Eve in the garden and telling them to not eat the fruit. Another message and division by God would be Him speaking to Moses, and enabling him to lead Israel out of captivity.
In terms of our second point around Adaptation, we can look at the use of the word “manner” – the ways in which God acted. This speaks to God adapting how He said what He needed to say at different times. Examples of this; is Jeremiah who laments at God’s pending judgement. Another manner is the Holy Spirit working within us to teach us.
While the times may vary and the manner, the method remained the same (review latter part of verse 1). The method was always the Prophets.
Literal Understanding of Verse: God in these last days times (that includes the time we are in); speaks to us by His Son. It is this Son, who God legally entitled to all things, and who also made our universe.
Explanation: Remembering in verse 1 while we saw the time and manner vary in which God worked, the method was always the same. In verse 2, we see a deviation in God’s method from Prophet; to God the father using His own Son – Jesus Christ. This change is dramatic and notable and reflected in the difference in the pages of the New Testament.
Next part of the verse indicates that this same Jesus is heir of all things. Heir is defined to mean, legally entitled, but also a person who inherits and continues the work of a predecessor.
A final and profound statement is made in the next part of the verse – that God not only used Jesus to be the method in these last days, but also used Jesus to create the worlds. Not only is He a method of God, our propitiation, our Lord God, but also the creator of all around us!
Literal Understanding of Verse: Jesus is the immediate image of God. Jesus holds together all things word of his power. Jesus wiped away our sins. Jesus thereafter sat down on the right hand of God the father.
Explanation: This verse is so beautiful in capturing who Jesus Christ is. God’s glory when it shines forth, that shine, that awe, that light is Jesus Christ. Secondly, the direct image of the person of Great and Mighty God is Jesus Christ Himself. They are one. Thirdly, the Bible doesn’t say by the power of His (Jesus) words, but the word (singular) of His Power (the Father’s power). That’s an interesting read. Jesus Christ upholds all things, by the promise of God the Father’s power. Then it goes on to depict how Jesus himself, purged our sins. Purged there means “to cleanse or purify by separating and carrying off whatever is impure”.? And lastly, as a fifth point, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God in heaven. Wow, our Lord God is amazing!!!
In three simple verses of Hebrews 1:1-3 we have seen such bold and definitive statements about who Jesus Christ IS. The central figure of the Bible is Jesus Christ. He permeates it’s pages, and it’s pages embody Him. Without Jesus Christ as the centre of the Bible, Christianity is not christianity, merely another fairy tale. Without Jesus Christ, there is no salvation, and no hope in death. He is the essence of all things by Him do all things exists.Friends, the simple message this morning is this, the Bible is the final authority on Jesus. Not men. Not historic records or personal accounts. Not men filled in the Spirit. Not in other books. And while these alternate sources have their legitimacy and efficacy, only the Bible defines Jesus Christ authoritatively. For it is the authority on the man, on the God, Jesus Christ