Sunday, January 03, 2010

Jesus: Not Just Another Prophet

I've been wondering about my Bible reading plan for 2010, and thought I'd try doing Hebrews, as I did some years ago.

Why Hebrews? Because the author loves talking about how great the Lord Jesus Christ is. Here's what I mean: Looking at Hebrews 1:1-2, we can see a number of contrasts:

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (NIV)
Quite a sentence! Let me translate that into engineer-speak:
When? God spoke... whom?
In the past in various ways through the prophets
these last days by his Son
And besides all that, no prophet was appointed heir of all things, neither was any prophet God's agent in creating the universe!

Now both the NIV and the Message draw a distinction between God's speaking through the prophets vs. by his Son ("directly through" in the Message). Although the Greek preposition is identical ("ἐν" the prophets... "ἐν" his Son), I believe these editors are correct in contrasting the English prepositions, given the phrase "in various ways" (or "at sundry times and in divers manners" in the King James).

That the Son is the message, rather than simply speaking the message, is a theme that John has in John 1, where he refers to Jesus Christ as "the Word" -- and in 1 John 1:1-3:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. ... We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul also is quite clear that Jesus is qualitatively different from the usual prophet; he tells us that Jesus "is the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15).

In other words, Jesus is not just another prophet, as important as prophets are. He is, rather, the one the Prophets (including John the Baptist) spoke of.

So what? Here's what: as we heard in this weekend's sermon, we can take the regrets we cannot fix to a God who cannot fail; we can take them to Jesus.

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