Last Sunday, the church where I serve as one of the pastors started our journey through the letter to the Hebrews. It is hard to deny that any of God’s Word is pertinent for any hour, but it seems like Hebrews is tailor-made for such a time as this. Why might that sentiment seem right? Well, if I may borrow and modify a famous phrase, these are the times that try the endurance of souls. The author’s audience might have shouted “Amen!” right there.
The pastor’s encouragement in this letter sets its aim on tired hands and weakened knees (Hebrews 12:12). Days gone by looked more appealing, and following Jesus brought some things to the table of life that the original audience had not ordered. Turning back seemed like a viable option. Spiritual lethargy made the legs heavy during the race set before them. What was the author’s remedy for his beleaguered brothers and sisters? What match did he use to light the fire of his brief word of exhortation? Theology.
Starting in Hebrews 1:1–4, the author pastorally shepherded his flock to theology’s green pastures, which by design nourish encouragement. Consider what we learn theologically from the first four verses of this letter as they set the stage for what is to come.
First, we see that we are dealing with a talking God. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son (1:1–2a). The ground that exhortation and encouragement stand on is the living word of our speaking God. If God has spoken, that very fact changes everything, since his words provide persevering encouragement for every part of the race set before us.
Second, notice that God has spoken to us. Do we know ourselves to be a people addressed by the God who creates, redeems, and recreates to his glory? The reality of a speaking God who addresses us compels us to search high and low to see both how he speaks and what he has spoken. The great theology of 1:1–4 does not leave us without an answer. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. In the person, work, and words of Jesus, we hear God speaking words of exhortation to us.
How can we not persevere when the theology of 1:1–4 fuels us with seven glorious descriptions of the one by whom God speaks? Jesus is the appointed heir of all things, the agent of creation, the radiance of God’s glory, the exact imprint of God’s nature, the sustainer of the universe, and the one who made purification for our sins. Right now, he is in the most exalted spot in all of the universe as the one seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high!
This theology of the better-than-anything-and-anyone Son supplies the match that lights the fire of perseverance. We are in times that try the endurance of our souls. Thank God that we have a word spoken to us by the person and work of Jesus that we look to as we run the race sovereignly set before us (Hebrews 12:1–3).
Lewis Guest, IV, M.Div. ’15
Instructor of Bible and Theology
- Please pray for the safety of our students as they travel back to Minnesota.
- Pray for our students and faculty as they prepare to resume classes on Monday.
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- Please continue to pray for our school during these extraordinary times. Pray for wisdom and strength as we continue to deal with the challenges brought about by the pandemic.