I See Jesus

As I write this, we’re headed to Columbia, Missouri, to move Christopher’s youngest sister to Mizzou as she begins her journey to becoming a pediatrician. We affectionately refer to Tricia as “PediaTricia” and look forward to her new anatomical adventures.

As we loaded the Uhaul I thought about all we tow around in life. Whether it’s a set of old, tattered books which contain knowledge from our experiences, one of those DIY projects we experimented with on our own heart, or some emotions we’ve shoved into an old gym bag and pushed to the back of the dark closet to keep them out-of-sight – we all have stuff. Hang-ups, bang-ups, and splintered edges.

Last week in Hebrews 1 we laced up our sneakers to better pace our life and encourage our soul. We hit the pavement together and became re-established in Christ’s superiority. I don’t know about you, but I can quickly shift my eyes from the Truth and when I do, the white noise of this world drowns out the voice of God. When we can’t hear God, we lose our own voice in the chaos. Oftentimes, we must journey to Away – a place distant from the clamor so we can claim silence. But in that journey to Away, it’s hard to not hitch up the Uhaul.

We’re going to be challenged today. We’re going to practice traveling down the road toward Away and learn to ask for help as we put one foot in front of the other. We’ll learn how much God desires to support us and how He is actively allowing us to seek Him and leave the luggage behind.

1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

-          Remember that we don’t know the author of Hebrews; and, I believe it is this way so that we keep our focus on God, rather than a human agent. Hebrews is about God speaking to you.

-          In the last verse of chapter 1 – after the establishment of Jesus being more superior than the angels – it reads, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” When the books of the Bible were written, there weren’t chapters and verses – it flowed in totality. In verse 1 of chapter 2, it goes on to read, “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” That word “therefore” should make us ask, “What’s it there for?” Meaning, why is verse 1 linked to the last verse of the preceding chapter? How are those two chapters interconnected? The connecting topic isn’t angels, it’s your salvation based on Christ’s superiority.

-          Salvation is recognizing – through deep humility – your utter dependence upon the work of Christ Jesus to reconcile you to God. The author isn’t focused on you rejecting salvation (because this is written to Jewish believers, and you’re a believer, too). The author is concerned with you neglecting your salvation. You can hustle through this world and conquer zero ground. You can shove clutter in your Uhaul and fail to purge. You can be saved, and yet drift purposeless through life. The author is prodding you to pay careful attention that you do not drift away. Why? Because drifting is so easy to do.

-          Last week I was in Orlando for a sales conference. The place we stayed at had a lazy river (which, I’ve never experienced before). I sat beside the pool one evening and thought, “Okay, I’m going to try that before I leave. It seems very relaxing.” {I was slightly nervous because I had seen an older woman in one of the inflatable innertubes and she was clearly struggling to figure out how to dismount from the floatie. Innovatively, she decided to just #ownit and aggressively ejected herself out of hot pink blow-up device. It was an impressive self-baptism experience and she recovered with such grace. I hope I’m that brave in my 70s.} So, one evening around 9 p.m. (you know, when there’s no one in the pool to judge you), I found my own hot pink floatie and made my successful mount. After about five minutes of lazy-ing, I was bored. I’m not sure what the destination was, but we weren’t getting there fast enough. I made one pass around the pool – it took about 15 minutes – and then decided the lazy river wasn’t for me. I’d rather go white-water rafting with a paddle and lifejacket.

-          Lazy rivers of life aren’t for believers. I’m not talking about never resting, but drifting through life is what we’re warned against. Drifting is super easy. It starts off as just kicking-back, and before you know it, you’re floating far from shore and the only destination is negative consequence (and you’re left struggling with how to dismount out of the donut of sin). Maybe you eventually flip yourself over and just go under water. Or, a friend comes alone side you to help. Either way, you must reject the sin if you ever want to get anywhere purposeful in life.

-          That’s what these verses are nudging us to recognize. Don’t take the Word of God for granted and neglect it. Let Him anchor your wandering soul. He’s provided you with signs, wonders, and various miracles, hasn’t He? There are “God-winks” in life that assure you of His existence. He’s gifted you. He has deposited in you the very essence of who He is by His Holy Spirit. Elements of God’s character are tucked away in you to be fruitful through His power. You aren’t driftwood. Be anchored in Him and don’t ignore or neglect what He’s doing in you.

5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a little lower than the angels;
    you crowned them with glory and honor
8     and put everything under their feet.”

-          Quoted within this section are verses from Psalm 8. “What is mankind that you are mindful of them…” I like to substitute my name into these verses, and I’d encourage you to do the same to grasp the personalization of it:

o   “What is Tiffany that you are mindful of her,
    a daughter of man that you care for her?
You made Tiffany a little lower than the angels;
    you crowned her with glory and honor
     and put everything under her feet.”

In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

-          If you personalized Psalm 8:4-6 above like I did, that second part is tough to digest. I don’t feel as though everything is under my feet. I stumble on sticks and stub my toe on rocks. I don’t dominate; frankly, I am usually just humiliated. How do we rectify this scripture? It’s said in verse 8 of Hebrews 2, “Yet at present we do not see everything subject…But we do see Jesus”! I often talk about how this world is broken. You probably read or heard the tragic news about the tour boat in Branson, Missouri, and the many people who died, including children. I live close to this area and it just ripped my heart out. I cried as I heard it on the radio in the grocery store parking lot. This is a sad and broken world, friends, but we must choose to see Jesus. We must look for Him. Anticipate Him. Focus on Him. If we do not have strong hearts and encouraged spirits, we will drift purposelessly and only haul pain. As it says in verse 9, Christ suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. If you’ve tasted death by losing a loved one, you know your only true Comforter in this world is Jesus. He tasted death Himself, and did it so you could be with Him eternally. When I see sin and heartache and death, I say “Maranatha,” which means, “Come, Lord Jesus;” and, after studying this chapter, I now follow it up with, “I do see You.” “Maranatha. I do see You, Jesus.” Say that to yourself over and over and over again when life hurts. “Maranatha. I do see You, Jesus.”

10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 

-          I love the reminder here in verse 10 that all things were created through God and they are for Him. I like to think that some things in my Uhaul aren’t for Him. They’re for me and my fun. How selfish. I have what I have because of what He suffered, yet I take it for granted and believe it’s under my ownership. I remember when we brought Finley home, our fourth boy, I laid on our bed and was holding him and just cried and cried {Insert post-pregnancy hormones here}. I cried because I knew he wasn’t mine. He was on borrow and I was to be a godly steward of this temporary gift – but he wasn’t really mine. If you’ve never truly given your children to the Lord, it’s absolutely heart wrenching. Just ask Abraham. You never want to think of tragedy or death as a parent, but you must have the courage to say, “Not my will, but Yours.” Friends, that takes an anchor of hope that does not exist in this world, and it’s an anchor that never slips.

-          Jesus is the One who makes people holy. It is not through your own work or effort. Because of Christ’s holiness, you are holy and therefore, of the same family. Isn’t that wonderful? Looking across your past, present, and future, He’s not ashamed to call you a brother or sister. What a beautifully eternal bond He has both initiated and maintained.

12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

-          Again, the author quotes the Old Testament (books these Jewish believers were familiar with) from Psalm 22:22 and Isaiah 8:17-18. The Old Testament is the best commentary on the New Testament, and God reveals this to us in His Word. When we place our trust in the Lord, we can be assured that He will call us His children. Warren Wiersbe says, “If Jesus had not come to earth and become man, He could not take us from earth to share in His glory. The incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection must go together. They all lead to glory.”

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

-          Sometimes I forget that Jesus knows what it feels like to be human. He’s walked the roads of this broken world. He’s seen pain, felt rejection, watched vile behaviors, been abandoned, and experienced the disgustingness of abuse. He was fully human, yet fully God. He stepped down from heaven to break the power of the devil and free us from slavery and fear. The sad part is, I still live like a slave and succumb to fear at times. We all do. That’s why He didn’t just die and leave – He left a deposit of power in us to help us as we continue our earthly journey. Ephesians 1:14 says the Holy Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until we meet our Savior face-to-face.

-          Don’t forget that Jesus assures us in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Jesus can help you when you are tempted because He experienced temptation (and conquered it). He is merciful, faithful, and is advocating for you. We try so many versions of “help” in the world. Romance, entertainment, money, success, achievement, and family…each of these seem like help, but have the potential to cause us to drift further when Christ is not superior and supreme in our life (like we learned in chapter 1).

-          Regardless of where you’re at – on a raging river or a lazy one, let Christ anchor you. Refuse to drift purposelessly and remember that He suffered so that He could help you. He is full of grace and compassion (Psalm 145:8), so let Him take over the Uhaul and sort out what needs fixed and purge what needs eliminated. Willingly give yourself up to God and say, “Here I am” just like a parent painstakingly does with a precious newborn. You are His child, and He wants nothing but the absolute best for you. “Maranatha. I do see You, Jesus. Amen.”