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Communion Meditations (2021)

 

Nature of Christ

Originally scheduled for August 15

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

(Hebrews 1:1-4 NASB)

 

The question came naturally to the ancient Hebrew Christian. Just why is this Jesus of Nazareth so special that he is considered to be the sacrifice who takes away our sins? They knew about sacrifice, of course. They had studied the Old Testament Law and naturally wanted to know the connection between that law and Jesus. In this passage, the author — universally supposed to be Paul by the ancient church — explains why Jesus, the Christ, should be so regarded. He answers the question, “What’s so special about Jesus?”

Things visible

He begins by pointing out three things that we can observe concerning Christ:

·        He is the appointed heir of all things. Anything which is matter and energy belongs to Jesus Christ.

·        He is the agent of creation. That means that when God created the universe, He did it through Jesus. The ancient church had a saying that all good things “came from the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit.”

·        Have you ever wondered why the laws of physics don’t change? It is because Jesus, the Christ, sustains the universe by his power. God does not change; his creation does not change, for Christ sustains it.

Relationship to God

Much more than we would understand, the ancient world relied very much on symbols of authority to determine who was to be obeyed. The purple robe was not just a fashion statement but a sign of authority. Authority ultimately comes from God. So we can examine the relationship of Christ to God to see his authority.

·        He is the radiance of God’s glory. If you want to see what is praiseworthy in God the Father, look at the Son. His actions repeat what God is.

·        He is the perfect imitation of God. You and I do not have the ability to see God directly, but we have the perfect picture in Jesus Christ.

·        Most telling, he is seated at the right hand of God. Seated, not bowing before him. At the right hand, where the most powerful are placed.

Relationship to us

All of the above is well and good, but the ancient Jew knew that the sacrifice the takes away sin had to be “in the flesh.” Angels might deliver the law and prophecy, but sacrifice for sin had to have real flesh. Christ was fully human as well as fully God. He is our sacrifice.

·        He is the only one who is sinless, and therefore entirely pure. The ancient you would recognize this as an acceptable sacrifice; nothing less would do for the sins of mankind.

·        Where else besides God which you find love sufficient to go to the Cross? Only the love of God would do that.

·        To put the point practically, He is the only one who did go to the cross. His death and resurrection were well witnessed.

It is altogether fitting, therefore, that we should remember the greatest sacrifice in human history. No one else could have done it. No one else has ever tried. Therefore, as you prepare for communion this morning, think on these things. Remember how great your Lord is and the greatness of his sacrifice for you. To take in a worthy manner you need respect rising to the point of awe. Know who He is; remember who you are.

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