Hebrews 2 “Jesus Christ our Captain”

ImageOne of the wonderful tools learned in Inductive Bible Study training is that to unearth the truths of the passage one asks the “5W’s and H” questions. One needs to observe by asking “who, what, when, where, why, and how.” Yesterday the author of Hebrews answered the “who” question. Jesus Christ is the very radiance of the glory of God. Today in chapter two he continues to add more evidence to the “who” along with what, when, why and how.

Who/When: Jesus was made lower than the angels “for a little while.” He is “now” crowned with glory and honor because he is the pioneer of our salvation.

What: he suffered and experienced death on behalf of everyone. Because of that he is unashamed to call us brothers and sisters.

Why: He shared in our humanity so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death. Therefore, it was fitting in order that he may bring sons to glory. He was made like his brothers and sisters “in every respect” so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make atonement for the sins of his people.

How: He was tempted and suffered.

All of this is important because just as one needs a Captain to guide a ship so we need a captain of our souls. The author warns us if we loosen our anchor lines, we will drift away from the Captain who has set us free from the power of the fear of death. Therefore do not become untethered lest you drift from Jesus, the very radiance of God, the one who left heaven to become human, was tempted and suffered. To keep us from drifting from the shore of truth, our line must be tethered to Him. He alone is the security that will anchor us to the truth.

Photo Credit: knowingJesus.com

The Radiance of the Son of God!

ImageThe  theme of Hebrews is to persevere in and for the faith because Christ is superior. Point to consider: Written to 2nd generation believers who are admonished to know that we are all one in Christ; that Christ is superior and to Him alone we are to focus. In this first chapter the author, who is an unknown, reveals to us succinctly who He is and why He is to be worshiped and not the angels as was occurring within the first century. Thus the author brings his audience back to the basics of why that is not God’s plan. He gives us in just the first 4 verses seven characteristics of who Jesus is that we might bow the knee in total reverence and humility.

  1. He is the heir and yet He is God
  2. He is the heir and yet He is Creator
  3. He is the radiance of God’s glory
  4. He is the manifestation of God in flesh
  5. He is the Word by which He sustains all things
  6. He accomplished cleansing for sin
  7. He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High

As we read these 7 fully complete characteristics of our Savior, we recall these words of Jesus to Philip. John 14:8-11  Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be content.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you for so long, and you have not known me, Philip? The person who has seen me has seen the Father! How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  but if you do not believe me, believe because of the miraculous deeds themselves.’

If you believe Jesus was the incarnate revelation of God, ponder these words and rejoice that we know Him, walk with Him, and one day will reign with Him. Have you been with the Savior today?

ImageProverbs gives us clues on true friendship: Note: there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother; or a friend loves at all times. At the end of this precious letter to the Ephesians we come across this statement: “Tychicus, my dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will make everything known to you, so that you too may know about my circumstances, how I am doing.” Digging through Paul’s letters we unearth some points of who he was and lessons we can glean from his life.

Tychicus is mentioned in the book of Acts where Paul identifies him as from Asia Minor. It is here that we meet him as Paul introduces him to us as a friend of Trophimus and together they join Paul and his team. Paul entrusted the collections for the saints in Jerusalem to him along with a group of men who accompanied Paul on his way there which gives us another clue to his character. Paul included him in four of his epistles and he accompanied Paul on his journey from Macedonia to Jerusalem where this collection was given. It appears that he was with Paul when he was in prison in Rome and became the courier of the letters of Colossians and Ephesians, Philemon and perhaps 2Corinthians. As a trusted servant, Paul gave him the task of returning the converted runaway slave Onesimus back to Philemon. In Ephesians 6, Paul describes him as a dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord. He includes the word “minister” in his closing of the letter of Colossians.

Tychicus is a picture of a faithful friend and servant; nothing asked was too hard or cumbersome. “Being ‘faithful’ also means that he was loyal to the Word. He was the ideal man therefore, to send to Colosse at a time when heretics were knocking at the door. He taught the Truth accurately and plainly, as one utterly bound to his high commission.” [Dr. Peter Masters] He was proven trustworthy, reliable, loyal and an encourager. Paul sent him to Crete to minister along with Titus and to Ephesus so Timothy could come to Rome and be with Paul for a season. In other words, Tychicus was ready to stand in wherever needed!

As you read scripture and come across names such as Tychicus, take time to ask who this person was. Study their lives and then ask am I a man/woman such as Tychicus? Do I seek not my own light but only the Light of the World, Jesus Christ? Tychicus is an example of one who learned at the feet of Paul and then was competent to teach others as well. He is the epitome of one who found his strength in the Lord as it says vs 10 “be strengthened in the Lord and in  the strength of his power.” Are you a Tychicus?

The True 007 Stands Up!

ImageIf anyone could write a novel of real life as a 007 agent it is King David. His life of hair breadth escapes reads like a James Bond novel and Psalm 54 fits in perfectly with the plot line. If you are a fan of James Bond, you know that he often escapes with finesse and clever tactics, thanks to cinematography, and you walk away with your heart palpitating. David lived it in real life and today’s psalm finds him seeking a respite as he had done previously near the camp of the Ziphites, who were in fact blood relatives. However, they are the Judas Iscariot’s of the OT as they betray and double-cross on more than one occasion revealing to Saul where David is hidden. Chapters 1Samuel 23 and 26 is a record if you care to read it and see the true 007 in action.

This is the backdrop and prominent theme in Psalm 54. Our true 007 did not trust in harrowing car chases but instead as he wandered from oasis to oasis learned to trust God (Elohim—Creator who interacts and reveals Himself to His creation, one who has sovereign authority over all). David voiced his prayer to Elohim and asked him for deliverance in vs 1-3 and in vs 4-6 records his thankfulness for having his prayers heard.

Vs 1: O God deliver me by your name. God’s Name is strong and powerful; by His Name He brought creation into existence and by His Name He continues to reveal Himself. “For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen,”[Rom 1] Paul reminded us in Ephesians 6 to: “be strengthened in the Lord and in the strength of his power.”

Vs 2 O God, listen to my prayer. God hears and responds to those whose heart is perfectly aligned with him. Pro 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Vs 4 Look, God is my deliverer! God, Elohim is the only one who has the power to deliver when we are in dire circumstances. David trusted that God “is” that he is currently and always will be. Secondly that according to his character he will deliver. Deliverer is “’azar” and carries with it the meaning of one who helps or supports.

Vs 7 Surely, he (Adonai = Lord- master) rescues me from all trouble. The confidence that David had in this challenging time is seen in this last verse. Pro 3:26 for the Lord will be the source of your confidence, and he will guard your foot from being caught in a trap. Where is your confidence this day?

You may not be living a life as a 007 agent but your life may be just as Paul described in Ephesians 6
“a struggle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” In whom do you put your trust for deliverance when the roaring lion roves about seeking whom he may devour?