In the past God spoke to our ancestors 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 also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
It’s March and churches around the world are preparing for Easter (Resurrection Sunday as Christians call it). It’s the day when people who love Jesus gather together to loudly, joyfully, and triumphantly celebrate his victory over sin and death and Satan. If you followed my Advent Series, you already know a bit about this Jesus. You know something about his birth and a little about why he came.
But who is this man, really? And what are we to make of him?
Even Jesus’ disciples–men who were eager to believe he was their promised King–puzzled over these questions. “What kind of man is this?” they would ask. “Did he seriously just speak to the winds and waves? And did they really obey him? Why is he talking about dying? He’s got a big job to do, why is he wasting his time on these children? Why so many parables? Can’t he just give us a direct answer? When’s he going to take the throne?”
The religious establishment were much less willing to believe. “Who is this man?” they’d ask. “He’s a glutton and a drunkard. He doesn’t care about our laws. His disciples don’t even wash their hands before eating. And he works on the Sabbath. Can you believe he’s eating with them? The people are really starting to listen to him, and not to us like they used to. How dare he claim authority to forgive sins. Blasphemer! He can’t talk about God this way–as if he knew him, as if he were equal to him. His power must come from the Devil.”
Even the Non-Jewish ruling class (Rome) took notice. “Who is this man causing such a stir in the Jewish quarter? I’d like to see some of his miracles. People are calling him King of the Jews. Is he a threat to our rule?”
But there were others: insiders (Jews) and outsiders (Gentiles) alike who without question knew he was exactly what they needed. “If I could just touch his clothes, I’d be whole again.” Or, “I know I’m not a Jew, but I must follow this man.” There was the healed leper who begged to stay with Jesus, knowing that in him alone he’d find the healing his soul–like his body just moments before–craved. There were those who sat at his feet, forgetting their hunger and only wanting to feed on his words. The bread of life!
So who is he, really?
He is God’s final word. There is nothing else to be said.
And we ignore him to our great peril. If we want peace with God, if we want healing for our souls, we can look nowhere else.
Over the next few weeks, in preparation for Easter, I’m going to blog through a few of these descriptions of Jesus from the opening lines of Hebrews. We’re going to see exactly who Jesus is. Join me as you prepare your hearts to celebrate his resurrection–the very centerpiece of the Christian faith.