The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Hebrews 1:1-2:4

The Word Finally Revealed

Having spent all of our time in the Old Testament, we finally move to the New.  The Old Testament and the Law paved the way for the New Testament and the age of grace.  The purpose of the Law was to teach us what sin is (Romans 7:7-13).  It also served as our guardian, as people who needed guidance, until the plan of salvation would be revealed through Christ (Galatians 3:19-26).  Ultimately, the Law shows us for the sinners that we are, in need of the grace of Jesus Christ, provided by his death and resurrection.  That’s why we have to spend time in the Old Testament during Lent, that we might hear the Law, acknowledge our failure to keep it, and thus be ready to receive the saving message of Jesus Christ.

So we turn in the New Testament to the Letter to the Hebrews, for there is no writing in the New Testament that better explains how our Lord and Savior fulfilled the promises of the Old.  The Letter to the Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who needed encouragement to live the faith, just as we do.  They are reminded right at the beginning of the letter that the times have changed, which is good news.  In the past, God spoke to His people through the prophets, men and women who received a message from God and reported it to the people (like Elijah or Isaiah).  Now God has spoken to us definitively, finally, and ultimately through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Why is this message so superior to the previous messages of the prophets?  Because it comes to us through His Son, who is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature.”  The Son even “upholds the universe by the word of his power.”  And now he sits at the right hand of the Father, all things subject unto him (Ephesians 1:20-21).  Angels do not compare to him, for he is their creator as well.  Then are fired off a host of Old Testament passages that speak of the glory of the Son, his relationship to the Father, his kingship and dominion over creation, his divinity.  This is the One we worship, this is the One who has redeemed us, this is the One who has perfectly revealed the Father to us.  “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

Our passage today closes with an admonition to not neglect so great a salvation offered to us.  Grace does not mean that there is no punishment for sin.  The wages for sin is still death.  But now there is the gift of forgiveness and eternal life for those who receive him (Romans 6:23).  The times have indeed changed.  Hallelujah!

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