Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
21st Sunday after Pentecost | October 14, 2018
12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 4:12-16 New Living Translation (NLT)
As soon as I saw this morning’s passage, I looked up images of swords. I’ve mentioned before that I have been using Pixabay for my images. There were many different images of swords, but the one that intrigued me were those of lightsabers. As I thought about it, I wanted to use the green lightsaber because green is typically the color of the Jedi.
I think about light sabers and think about the passage above. The light saber is a powerful weapon – even more powerful than your standard sword. It was made famous in the Star Wars saga. Yet, when we compare the light saber to the Word of God, it still comes up lacking.
The Word of God — that is Jesus is the most powerful weapon – as the writer of Hebrews has been making an argument for – that is known to us. The Word of God is sharper than any sword. It can expose our hearts. Scary, isn’t it?
But as we move to the next paragraph, we find out that this same Word of God that can cut us open and expose all of our heart and soul – also became our great High Priest. Even though he can cut open our hearts, Jesus understands the frailty of the human body. Jesus was sacrificed for us. He gave himself up to make a way. The writer of Hebrews tell us that Jesus knows our weaknesses. Jesus faced everything we have and yet was without sin. So Jesus stands as the perfect mediator between God and us.
For that reason the writer of Hebrews writes:
So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
I am thankful that the one to whom we are accountable, was also willing to be our great High Priest – to be our great sacrifice – and I am thankful for His mercy and grace!
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to ear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
20th Sunday after Pentecost
Hebrews 1:1-4 New Living Translation (NLT)
Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.
Hebrews 2:5-12 New Living Translation (NLT)
And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. For in one place the Scriptures say,
“What are mere mortals that you should think about them,
or a son of man that you should care for him?
Yet for a little while you made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them authority over all things.”
Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.
So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. For he said to God,
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
I will praise you among your assembled people.”
During Lent this last year, our church did a series called, “Who Is Jesus?” We looked at the various aspects of Jesus – first that He was 100% God, but He was also 100% human. During that series we outlined exactly why Jesus could be the Savior of the world.
The opening paragraph of the letter to the Hebrews, reminds us that “The Son (Jesus) radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.” This sentence reminds us that Jesus is God. Jesus is God from the very beginning – He was with God at the creation – and he is the sustainer of the universe. Everything is under the command of Jesus. Yet this very same Jesus came to earth – He was incarnate in our human bodies – He humbled himself to the point of dying a slave’s death on the cross to die and cleanse us from our sins. On the third day, he was raised to life through the power of the Holy Spirit and now sits on the right hand of God.
In the second part of the reading, we are reminded that Jesus by grace, Jesus tasted death so that he could bring many children to glory. Jesus is the only one possible to bring us to salvation. Jesus also died to make us holy. He made it possible that we could do exactly as God commanded when He said, “Be holy, as I am holy.” Jesus is the only one who could make that possible. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are adopted into Christ’s family and we have the same Father. “Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” How cool is it that the one who created and sustains the universe is willing to call us his brothers and sisters? That is amazing grace and it shows how much he loves us.