About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
To Pay Attention (ch.2:1-4)
we start into chapter 2 we must be reminded that the author of Hebrews is
writing to Jewish Christians, who, were facing much trials and
tribulations, not only from the Jewish establishment but also from the
Roman world. It would have
been very tempting for them to recant their faith, or, at least drift away
from their faith.
2 opens this way. "We
must pay more attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do
not drift away." This is
obviously an admonition to stay on track.
This could suggest that some of the Jewish Christians were being
led astray from the true faith, or at least, being tempted in that
direction. This exhortation is
just as important for us today, as it is in every generation.
Man has always the tendency to drift away from the truth.
Everything needs to be maintained, or looked after, or it will
decay and fall apart. It's
what is called the Second Law of Thermal Dynamics, or, entropy.
Our trust in Jesus is no different.
It must be kept in good standing.
term "drift away" is clearly, and the cultural context proves
this, a shipping term. As
one's ship might drift away, so one's faith can drift away as well.
phrase "To what we have heard" refers to the gospel that these
people heard from the apostles, and for some, from Jesus Himself.
the first chapter, the writer of Hebrews refers back to the Old Testament
to make and to prove his point. His
exhortation to pay careful attention to what they heard, meaning the
gospel, was very important. What
they heard was not in Old Testament times but was in their own life time.
if the message spoken to angels was binding, and every violation and
disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we
ignore such a great salvation." This
verse is packed with good things.
writer is referring to the Law of Moses when he speaks of "the
message of angels." If
one violated or disobeyed the Law, even one law, there were serious
consequences. The just
punishment for such violations was eventually experienced by Jesus on the
cross, and it was death. Yet,
now that the Law has been replaced with Jesus and His act of love, what
greater consequences will one have if he ignores this great salvation.
have said this before, God is just. If
He was angry enough to execute His own Son in order for us to experience
salvation, how much more angry will He be towards those who reject this
great salvation. This is one
very serious matter in the eyes of God.
author speaks of the message, the Law of Moses, being spoken or attended
by angels. There is very
little evidence of this in the Old Testament.
It is alluded to in the Old Testament but specifically
addressed in Acts 7:53 and Galatians 3:19.
see the words "Just punishment" in verse 2.
The word "just" is important when it comes to God.
Our present secular world has absolutely no idea what this means.
Our western culture views God as being loving and tolerant towards
everyone because of His great love. This
is far from the truth. The
words "just punishment" says a lot.
The word "just" means that God is just and cannot and
will not tolerate that which is wrong in His sight.
The word "punishment" means that God will punish those
who do wrong. The good news is
that God punished Jesus instead of us, the ones who really deserved the
punishment. Once again, if we
ignore or neglect what Jesus has done for us by receiving our punishment,
then we will be eternally punished. This
is also why I say that people will not be eternally punished for their
sins, or wrong doing. They
will, however, experience eternal damnation for their rejection of Jesus.
Jesus has already been punished for our sins.
Unbelievers will be punished for their unbelief, for their
rejection of Jesus.
verse 3 we read that Jesus Himself "First
announced" this great salvation and then it was "confirmed to us
by those who heard Him." The
writer does not include himself in the group who heard Jesus speak to them
directly. The author includes
himself in the word "us." This
means that men like Peter, James, John, and others would have relayed that
which they heard to men like the author of Hebrews.
Some suggest, then, that Paul did not write Hebrews because of what
he says in Galatians 1. In
Galatians 1 Paul emphatically makes the point that no man taught him the
gospel. Jesus, and Jesus
alone, by revelation taught him the gospel.
For, this reason, I don't think Paul would include himself among
those who were taught the gospel by men who heard it directly from Jesus'
verse 4 we see another way of confirming this good news.
It is through "signs, wonders, and various miracles, and gifts
of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will."
This sounds a little like Paul in 1 Corinthians 12.
Here we see the importance of the miraculous gifts of the Holy
Spirit in the early church that confirmed the gospel.
Some use this verse to state that these gifts of the Spirit were
for the early church only to confirm the gospel that Jesus preached.
They say the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for today.
I do not draw such a conclusion from this verse.
First of all, it does not say this in the text. Itís
merely conjecture. Second of
all, if the church needed such confirmation, only a few short years after
Jesusí earthly existence, how much more do we need such confirmation
the words "Distributed according to His will."
The simple point here is that not everyone has the same gifts of
the Spirit. God distributes
the gifts according to His will. The
emphasis is on the word "distributes."
One person might get one gift while another person might get
another gift. Everyone does
not have the same gift. We are
all called to different callings. We are not all apostles.
We are not all pastors. We
are, or at least should be, what God has called us to be. This
is an important Biblical truth in light of the fact that many Pentecostal
Charismatic Christians believe that we all should have the ministry of
healing. I think this verse