March 31, 2008

Monday Morning Message - Jesus Is Better

Consider this a "catch up" post for the Monday Morning Message. I have been preaching a series through the book of Hebrews leading up to and following Easter. The intent of the series was to focus our collective attention on Christ and the work He accomplished. This has not been a verse-by-verse exposition of the entire book but rather a visit to the mountain tops.

As I have studied, read, prayed, and preached through this magnificent missive I have been personally struck by two things. First, and foremost, the unflinching and single minded focus of the author on the person and work of Jesus is stirring. The writer of Hebrews purposefully and powerfully grapples with the questions of who is Jesus and what did He accomplish. Second, I am humbled by the grand and repeated presentation of the finished/completed/concluded/wrapped up work of Jesus. When Jesus cried out from the cross, "It is finished," He meant it was finished. There was not, and is not, anything remaining which needs to be done to achieve salvation. There is only the gracious gift to be received and a life of gratitude to be lived.

The "mountain tops" we visited on this too brief tour of Hebrews are outlined with the references for your consideration.

Jesus is a better word - Hebrews 1:1-4. He is both the revealer of God and the redeemer of humanity.

Jesus is a better builder - Hebrews 3:1-6. The question the Hebrew Christians were asking in the midst of their lives was, "Can Jesus be trusted?" The compelling question of our lives is, "Will I trust Him?" Jesus is building His church, will we be part of what He's doing?

Jesus is a better priest - Hebrews 7:20-27. The Old Testament priest was always busy offering sacrifices, both for others and for himself. In the New Testament our better priest, Jesus, is able to offer one sacrifice "once and for all" (Heb. 7:27) for us. He had no personal need to offer the sacrifice because He was perfect before God. He offered the sacrifice for us and there was need for another to be offered ever again!

Jesus is a better sacrifice - Hebrews 10:1-25. The Greek verb tenses in this passage leave no room for doubt about the finished work of the cross. These verbs all speak of the completed and finished work of Christ's sacrifice and the continuing effect and reality of that sacrifice. Verse 14 may be the pinnacle of the entire missive for me, "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified."

Jesus offers us a better kingdom - Hebrews 12:18-29. In uncertain times it is wonderful to know that there is a "kingdom that cannot be shaken."

Now to Him, who has once and for all secured the blessing of salvation for all who believe and who even now is interceding on our behalf before the Father, be offered the worship of our lives lived in gratitude to Him.

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