December 21, 2008
By Derick Parfan
Hebrews 1:1-4 (ESV)
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
We do not want the feeling of being neglected. We want to be noticed. What would you feel if you enter your house and no one in your family is talking to you? They were laughing and sharing stories. No one seems to notice you. It is like you weren’t there. What would you feel? You will feel unimportant. You will feel that they don’t care that you are there or that you exist.
You want to feel important. But the truth is, you are not that important. You may be important to some people, but not to many. But do you know that there is a very important person we tend to neglect most of the time? JESUS! Does that name sound familiar? Or does it sound so familiar that it does not cause us to pay him the attention his name deserves? Where is Jesus these days?
The author of Hebrews wrote in his introduction to the book that Jesus, because of the glory of his person and the work he accomplished, became “as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs” (v. 4). The Jews treat angels as important beings. Seeing angels may bring a different kind of fear to them. When Zechariah saw the angel Gabriel, “he was startled and was gripped with fear” (Luke 1:12 NIV). When the same angel appeared to Mary, she was “greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be” (1:29 NIV). The angel’s response to both of them is, “Do not be afraid” (1:13, 30).
Jesus is more important than angels. The response to him must be respect, reverence, and honor, not neglect. Because of persecutions, the Jewish Christians were in danger of going back to their old ways of life under Judaism. The message of the book of Hebrews is a warning for them not to neglect Jesus. Jesus is greater than any prophet or angel or any system of religion or any government authorities. The message of the first four verses is a summary of the whole book: Jesus is a very important person and must not be neglected. He must not be taken for granted.
Answer these questions: Who is the most important person today? On December 25? Last Monday when you went for work? You know the answer! Christ is supposed to be the most important person (along with the Father and the Spirit, of course). He is no less important yesterday than on Christmas Day. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Amidst the busyness of the Christmas season, Jesus is not even noticed. We sing about him, yet we neglect him during most of our time. We don’t talk about him that much (Pacquiao becomes the most favorite subject not Christ). We don’t declare what he has done that much. We celebrate Christmas but we do not celebrate Christ that much. Work, love life, money, career, gifts, 13th month pay, Noche Buena, family reunion, and vacation become more important than Jesus Christ. What’s happening to us, brothers and sisters?
Now, what makes Jesus a very important person that we just cannot take him for granted?
God’s Final Word
Jesus is God’s final word to us. Through Jesus Christ God has revealed himself to us. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (vv. 1-2a). God used the prophets in the Old Testament to speak forth his message to his people. He used Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah and Malachi. God did not let himself without a voice among his people. He spoke frequently. He spoke in various ways also. But all of these revelations were not yet complete. All of these spoke about the One who is to come to reveal God. All of them point to the Messiah. This does not mean that we will neglect the Old Testament but we will read them with the awareness that all of these found their fulfillment in Christ.
“In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” When the baby was born in Bethlehem, we can hear not just his cry but the voice of God speaking through him and saying who he is. He is God’s voice. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:1, 18).
Jesus came to show us God. The prophets were telegram in the past. Now, Jesus was God’s webcam. We don’t just hear God’s voice. We see God himself in Jesus.
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works” (John 14:8-10).
God is speaking. Listen to him. Our season is too noisy for God’s voice to be heard. A father gave a party for his son’s birthday. He wants to say something about his son. No one is listening. The people are too busy partying no one has even heard the father’s voice. No one paid attention.
Learn to sit in silence and let God speak through Jesus. You want to know God? God to Jesus. Don’t neglect him. What is God saying to you this Christmas? He gave his Son for you. What is he saying about his faithfulness, love, mercy, and justice in the coming of Jesus? Meditate on these things this Christmas season.
Jesus is a very important person that must not be neglected. What makes him important? He is very important because he is God’s final word, speaking to us what God wants to reveal, showing God himself to us. He is very important because, second, he is the great God himself.
The Great God Himself
Jesus can show us God because he is the great God himself. “In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (vv. 2-3a).
He is the Son of God, “the heir of all things.” He owned everything in the universe. It is understandable because he himself is the creator. “Through whom also [God] created the world.” No one will be created apart from him. Without him, you will not even exist! But why do we live and do things as if he is non-existent, as if he is not a real, living person?
What we see in the manger in Bethlehem is not just the Son of God. He is God himself. “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Christ is to the Father what the rays of the sun are to the sun. He is the radiance of God’s glory. As it is impossible to separate the rays from the sun, it is also impossible to separate Christ’s glory from the nature of God.” He is not just like a photocopy or a pirated copy of a DVD. He is the real thing, the original, the one and only true God. When we exclaim, “How great is our Jesus,” we also say, “How great is our God.”
Because he is God and Creator, “he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Imagine that for a second. The one who is born in Bethlehem “upholds the universe by the word of his power.” He is holding it by the palm of his hand. He is in control of everything. If he removed his hand from sustaining the universe, everything will be in chaos. He hold the earth in his hand; he holds the Philippines in his hand; he holds our church in his hand; he holds your life in his hand.
Jesus is the great God – the Son of God, the glory of God, the Creator, the Sustainer.
A Jewish soldier had been attending services where he heard of the character and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. He went to his rabbi and said, “Rabbi, the Christians say that the ‘Christ’ has already come, while we claim He is yet to come.” “Yes,” assented the rabbi. “Well,” asked the young soldier, “when our Christ comes, what more than Jesus Christ can we expect?” What, indeed, since Jesus Christ was fully God?
That is why we need to give him the worship the great God deserves. He wants your undivided attention, your whole-hearted service. Previously I told you to listen to him, pay attention to what God is saying through him. Now, talk to him your praises. Tell him how great he is and what he has done. Before celebrating Noche Buena or opening Christmas gifts, make sure that you place him at the center of the celebration. Worship in your family. Read the Nativity story in Luke together. Pray together. Give him the worship he deserves.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross (Colossians 1:15-20).
Jesus is a very important person that must not be neglected. What makes him important? He is very important because he is God’s final word, speaking to us what God wants to reveal, showing God himself to us. He is very important because, second, he is the great God himself. Third, because he is the perfect sacrifice for us.
The Perfect Sacrifice
To say that the baby born in Bethlehem was the God who made the universe is mind-boggling. But more amazing is the fact that this great God will suffer and die on the cross like the worst criminal. Muslims and Jews won’t accept that. We Christians did. And we believe that this humiliation, this perfect sacrifice that he offered on the cross makes him a very important person. “After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (1:3b). Jesus work on the cross is complete. No one can add anything to that. It is sufficient for the forgiveness of sins of all people who would believe in him.
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (Heb. 10:10-14).
Don’t make the mistake that his suffering for us makes us very important. The fact that he died for us who are unworthy makes him very important. It is not the other way around. This suffering on the cross for our sins put him at the right hand of God. No mere human being is given that power, honor and authority to reign as king. Only Jesus.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:5-11).
The way we treat our President is sometimes like the way we treat our Lord. The President is the one in authority and power in our government yet we do not respect that. We speak so badly about her. We may not speak bad about our Lord but our neglect of his position as Lord shouts that he is not that important. So it can be the same as saying badly about him. Let us make sure that our actions send the right signal to Jesus that he is really Lord.
Don’t neglect his sacrifice on the cross. Make sure that you have him as your Savior. Lead others to salvation through Jesus Christ. The best gift you can give someone this Christmas is Christ himself. You ignore his perfect sacrifice on the cross if you are silent to speak about him and his sacrifice. Silence means you are telling people that they don’t really need Jesus’ work on the cross.
Jesus is a very important person that must not be neglected. What makes him important? He is very important because he is God’s final word, speaking to us what God wants to reveal, showing God himself to us. He is very important because, second, he is the great God himself. Third, because he is the perfect sacrifice for us. He died on the cross to purchase our salvation and also for others who will believe through us.
The Jesus of many people celebrating Christmas is not the Jesus of the Bible. He is not so important for many people. He is important only as a means to an end. This cannot be. He must be important because he is the end, the goal of our entire existence. We need to show people how great our Jesus is. He must be much greater than the Jesus many people knew or has still never known. Say and sing with me please, How great is our Jesus!