MDB 81: Hebrews 1
April 26, 2010
"Jesus is better." That's a helpful way a commentator once summarized the letter to the Hebrews. This letter was written during a time of great crisis in the first century when it appeared the small, glowing embers of the church could be snuffed out by persecution.
Two millennia have passed and Christians today still suffer intense physical trials and persecution. These "last days" (Heb. 1:2) continue. Witness the atrocities in Nigeria earlier this year, the persecution in Indonesia, or the intimidation of the Chinese government. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are killed for their faith. But their faith is strengthened not by what they see (Heb. 11:1).
So what do Christians need to see when days are dark? Jesus is better. The answer couldn't be more simple or more complete. Jesus is better than the pain. Jesus is better than the loss.
Are you discouraged and distracted? Trials tempt us to look down. Comfort comes only when we look up. Look up to Jesus for he is "the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature" (Heb. 1:3; 12:2). There is no one like him; he is unique.
Jesus creates and sustains.
"You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end." (Heb. 1:10-12)
Because Jesus has created all things, all things are under his power.
"...to which of the angels has he ever said,
'Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet'"? (Heb. 1:13)
The author of Hebrews tells us in the first chapter that Jesus is creator, sustainer, conqueror, and defender. We may not ever understand why a particular trial comes upon us. But understanding is not essential to encouragement. Before we ask "why" let us seek "Who". Trials come and go, as does life itself. Jesus is the one who endures. Do you know him? Have you found him to be better than anything this world can offer?