August 27, 2010

To Live is Christ — listening to God

Without being an enthusiast of genealogy, I somehow found myself in charge of researching our family tree. Some parts are exciting. For instance, I have a cousin who is in his early nineties. I enjoy hearing him relate visits he had with my parents when they were young. It gives me a sense of connection to the past. Family history books do the same thing. Reading what they did and said many years ago imparts the feeling of being there and being part of that heritage.

I wonder what the Jews at the time of Jesus felt like when they read their Old Testament Scriptures. Did they feel part of that history? Did they desire knowing about the life of their ancestors? Or was it just dry history for some of them?

It should not have been. Jewish history is not like any other history. The Israelites have a unique record of how God chose them and spoke to them. For those born since the time of the prophets and who retained the faith of their forefathers, reading that history should be exciting indeed.

At the end of that Old Testament period, I wonder if any of them had given up on God? The prophets were silent for four hundred years. Maybe they thought God was finished speaking — but He was not!

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. (Hebrews 1:1–2)
John wrote about the coming of Christ. He called Him “the Word” and said that the Word was with God and was God (John 1). Then he wrote that this Word became flesh and dwelt among us! How incredible. God spoke to the world, and in particular to those who would listen, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Canadian theologian, Eugene H. Peterson offers a contemporary translation of these verses from Hebrews. He says,

Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. (Hebrews 1:1–2, The Message)
If the Jews were excited about God speaking to them in the past, Christians should be very excited about the New Testament portion of the Bible! This is God speaking as plainly as He can speak.

I sometimes use object lessons to convey a message when I teach. What could be more powerful an object lesson than God becoming a man to show us what He is like? Hebrews 1:3 says “This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature.

The wisest human being could not have devised a better plan or a better mouthpiece for God than this awesome object lesson. Jesus is God in the flesh — to listen to Him is to hear the very voice of God!

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