Thursday, April 7

Thursday, April 7

Reader: “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard,” 

Response: “or we may drift away from it.”

Scripture: Hebrews 2:1-9

So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose.

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.

Some thoughts:

The book of Hebrews gives multiple warnings about paying attention to the truth of God’s message of salvation. One such caution occurs in our passage. The Greek word for “drift” gives us a visual picture of its meaning. The idea is of a boat in a harbor with sailors aboard. But with no one paying attention to what is happening as they drift out of the harbor into treacherous, deadly ocean waters. The warning: careless neglect or outright rejection of God’s truth will bring dire consequences. The Jewish readers had previously read the truth in the Torah, but more recently Jesus, God in human flesh, had spoken the truth of salvation and confirmed it with various miracles. The message from the writer of Hebrews? God has offered new life and forgiveness. Don’t be indifferent! Pay attention.

Neglect and rejection to the gospel was true in the early days of the church and such is true in our own day. It is too easy to measure truth by our personal standards; to be absorbed with self. You see it all around you. “You have your truth, I have mine.” In addition there are several shades of theological gray teaching circulating in our Christian world as well. It is imperative that we know the Scriptures and develop critical theological thinking. . .(part of the reason for these daily devotionals.) One of the themes of the season of Lent is examining our own spiritual state and asking ourselves how we are doing spiritually. Are we progressing or are we being hounded by the same old sins? Are we drifting?

The last half of today’s reading concerns the humanity of Jesus in response to what was said in chapter one of Hebrews where the writer has shown that Jesus was superior to angels. That may seem obvious to us, but to his Jewish readers such was not the case. To the First Testament Jewish mind, angels were clearly superior to men and were the agents who delivered God’s Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai. After all, several places in the New Testament attest to that belief. (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Acts 7:38; Heb. 2:2) His readers grappled with this superiority idea since Jesus was human yet died; therefore he must rank lower than angels. Yet he was God? The writer quotes from Psalm 8 that man, for a time, is a little lower than the angels. We see Jesus exhibiting great humility as he lowered himself for a time. By God’s grace, Jesus has tasted death for all humanity resulting in the truth that one day, all things will be under human authority including the angels. 

So what can we draw from this passage? We are reminded once again of the biggest picture that God is unfolding and not be consumed with the latest reports on what is happening in the world and to let those events dictate and rule our lives. We dare not drift from what we know is certain and true. God is sovereign over all things. We rest in him. Let us not drift out of his safe harbor through neglect.

Music: “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name”   Festival Choir Thallander Foundation

Prayer:Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give me an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow on me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace  you, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.   ―Thomas Aquinas  (1225-1274)  from Eerdmans’ Book of Famous Prayers, p.33