Category: Hebrews

Hebrews 2:10-18

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on January 1st, 2017.

The youth of jesusChrist is both transcendent and immanent, perfectly divine and completely human.  Jesus was not a demi-god who was part human and part God.  In the first chapter, the writer of Hebrews showed us the exalted Savior who created the world and then saved it demonstrating that Jesus Christ is greater than everything and everyone.  Most Christians these days seem to intuitively understand the divinity of Christ.  We stand ready to defend Christ’s divinity.  This is the way it should be.  But have we any hope at all in his humanity?  We do.

We might focus a sermon on the necessity of Christ’s humanity.  Why did Jesus have to be completely human?  Only as a human could Jesus suffer and become our perfect Pioneer.  So the necessity of Jesus’ humanity rests upon Jesus’ total identity with humanity.  God is not out to make his family into one big happy family, but instead to make us one big holy family.  Jesus could not make us holy without entering fully into our humanity.  Thus, he did not merely pretend to be fully human.  No.  He actually became our elder brother and unashamedly called his followers brothers and sisters.

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Hebrews 1:1-4

This text is used for the Lectionary Year A on December 25th, 2016.

radiance-1929-jpglargeHebrews is distinctive in the New Testament literature.  In the letters of Paul and Peter, we recognize the familiar formula of a letter.  Later the writer of Hebrews will describe this work as “a letter of exhortation” (13:22).   As we read Hebrews aloud, we may hear the exhortation, not just from the writer, but from God.  God speaks in answer to our heart cry, “We need to hear from you.  We need a word from you.  If we don’t hear from you, what will we do?”  Are we waiting for a word?  If God could speak to us, what would God say?  The writer of Hebrews reminds us that the very same God who spoke in the past still speaks today.

A sermon might explore the ways that God speaks to people.  How did God speak in the past?  Not only did God speak through the general revelation of creation.  No, God spoke to and through the personalities of the prophets.  In the Old Testament, we learn that God spoke to the ancestors of the readers of the Hebrews.  Characteristically, the prophets said, “The word of the Lord came . . .” and then they spoke, “Thus says the Lord.”  The words came over a span of hundreds of years beginning with Moses and going through Malachi. God spoke differently to and through different prophets.  Moses heard God’s voice in a burning bush and also in the thunder of the storm.  Elijah heard the “still, small voice.”  Isaiah saw God high and lifted up in the Temple and heard him say, “Who will go for us?”  Ezekiel heard from God on a field trip to a valley of dry bones.  The heavens were not silent as stone.  God spoke to his people through the prophets.  Now, in Christ, God speaks again, to us.

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