Sunday, September 12, 2010

Consider Jesus

Reading and rereading the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament. I want to emphasize that I'm not setting myself up as a teacher here. I'm just interacting with the text, as they say. In other words, reading it. Over and over. And reflecting here at WF what it's seeming to mean. Mixing in those thoughts and observations of my own that the text seems to inspire. You might find that interesting, or it might spur you on to read your own selected text in the same ruminative way (which can be productive), or you might consider it all a vast waste of time. But what I'm trying to say is, I'm not trying to teach here. I'm trying to show.

In the first couple of posts in this series I've been looking at Hebrews 2:1, which contains this imperative: "We must pay closer attention to what we've heard."

We have all experienced the way in which a message that we once found very moving, even "life changing," such as the message "I love you," a message that sounded like music to us once, can quite suddenly sound like dissonant clanging, or like nothing at all, like silence. Not because the message has changed, but because our hearing has changed. Our attentiveness or sensitivity. People begin to ask, "Are you listening?" And you answer, "Of course I'm listening." But you're not. It happens all the time.

This is the dire predicament we all find ourselves in, I think. Things seem to grow stale to our ears. To diminish. Some folks have put it this way: our hearts grow hard. It happened to the folks who followed Moses in the desert. It happened to the kings of ancient Israel. Throughout the four Gospels of the New Testament you can find people with hard hearts (who cannot seem to hear, like Pontius Pilate, or Judas) and people with soft hearts who seem to pay attention at the crucial moment (like the woman at the well). The author of the letter to the Hebrews seemed to pinpoint this problem and address it directly. He said, "We've got to pay closer attention to what we've heard." And then, in the passage that follows, occupying the rest of chapter 2, you get the meat of that message. you get the what in "what we have heard." Go to your dog-eared Bible and read it for yourself, and then come back here.

Are you back? Okay, as you now know, it's all about Jesus. Hebrews is a very Jesus-rich letter. Jesus, who is eternal, who is God, who created everything and to whom someday the whole world will be subjected. Him. Who made himself to share in flesh and blood mortality, so that in doing so he might bear the brunt of sin's penalty, and thereby usher us into his family, calling us brothers and sisters forever. And now from his seat in heaven, having walked our walk, he helps us. He helps us! And the author writes:
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. (Hebrews 3:1 ESV)
Ah, another imperative. Much like the first one. The first one was, "pay attention to what you heard." Now there's this. "Consider Jesus."

Consider Jesus. Read Hebrews 2:5-18 over again, or read Philippians 2:5 and following, or read Colossians 1:15-20, or read the high priestly prayer of Jesus (John 17), or read Luke 23:44-49, or peruse John's vision of Jesus in Revelation 1. Read these or any other you can think of, and consider Jesus.

Consider who he is. Consider what he has done. Consider what he is doing now. Consider that this world, the one we walk around in, so beautiful and yet so appalling, will someday be subject entirely to his will, which will feel like the embrace of perfect love, forever. Pay attention. Consider. Set your mind on. Jesus.

2 comments:

n. davis rosback said...

amen.

Erin Hope said...

this is so good. well, I mean, how can setting your mind on Jesus be anything but that?