Thursday, March 23, 2006

fixing our eyes on Jesus

I wonder what place Jesus plays in our thoughts and in our lives. As the Jesus community, he ought to occupy front and center in our faith, and in our living, in this world.

The book of Hebrews is all about Jesus and what God provides for his people in his Son. Jesus is God’s final word, the culmination of all other words spoken in Scripture, the glory of God’s revelation, the theme of God's Story through whom the Story becomes only a climactic beginning, never to end but rather to continually unfold (C.S. Lewis)- by whom all things are reconciled to God and made new.

The letter was written to a discouraged group of Christians. They had committed themselves to Jesus as Messiah, but now were entertaining doubts, evidently, concerning their faith. They had suffered because of their profession of faith, and were in danger of drifting away. They were tempted to go back to a Judaism that did not acknowledge that Messiah had come in Jesus and the kingdom of God with him. And that through this, a new covenant as Jeremiah had promised, had begun.

So the writer to the Hebrews sets forth Jesus as the fulfillment, and even better than, what had been only preparation for what was to come. Jesus more than fulfills what was given to Israel in the first, now old covenant. And in him we move from Mount Sinai with its momentous activity, to Mount Zion, the new heavenly Jerusalem- filled with joy and celebration among those who, in Jesus, have been "made perfect".

Jesus is also set forth as human. Human to the bone. With the same passions and temptations we have, though without sin. Jesus’ sacrifice for sins once for all through the perfect sinless, Spirit-enabled sacrifice of himself provides forgiveness of sins and purification for us in being made holy.

After recounting acts of faith by witnesses of God from old covenant times, the writer than turns our attention to the greatest witness of all, the one that we are to follow- Jesus.

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (TNIV)

Earlier we’re told (this is written not only to its original recipients, but also to us) to fix our thoughts on Jesus (Hebrews 3). Now we’re told to fix our eyes on Jesus. What he did. So that we will follow in the trail, that he once for all has blazed for us. And thus not lose heart. He is there to help us, as our sympathetic high priest. Never to leave us, nor forsake us.

Lord, let us not give in to whatever might keep us from following you. Let us be those who are satisfied with nothing less than following you. All the way. And let us bring others along with us. To know you and your glory. In your name and by your work for us. Amen.

2 comments:

Abranches said...

Great blog, love it.

Ted Gossard said...

Abranches,

Thanks for your kind words.
Many blessings to you,

Ted

ps- God bless India, too.