September 26, 2012 by nathanodell
When we start to get a glimpse of the unsearchable riches of Christ, our view on the world starts to change. Christ becomes our center, source, life, wisdom, power, joy etc. etc. Our worldview changes drastically — and with that, our view of scripture. Jesus said to the religious of His day that they were searching the scriptures trying to find eternal life in them, but that actually missed the one the scriptures spoke about – Himself – Christ. Eternal life is found in the person of Christ and the scriptures will always point to Him.
With this in mind let me explain something I have learnt this past year about reading the word. I used to read the bible in a way of trying to learn some knowledge or understand the theology behind a certain topic. I would jump around and try to prove a certain idea I held to. Mostly while reading, the things that would jump out to me would be passages that backed up my current theology. If I read the same passage later something else might jump out to me since I had a different theology in mind. Sometimes it would cause me to jump from book to book in the bible to join topics together.
While I have come to realize that the Lord can teach us through this way, the scriptures were not written for that purpose and we often miss the real heart behind them by doing this. The letters that comprise the new testament were written to specific groups of believers for a specific purpose and at a specific time. Thus, the new testament is primarily a Narrative of a period in history. Now before you start hurling stones at me – I am not saying that we cannot learn sound teaching and gain understanding from the scripture – quite the opposite. I am saying that in order to gain the most, we must read the scriptures in the context of the new testament narrative. We need to see the broad picture of the author and his heart behind the letters and His love for the people he was writing to. The pick, choose, jump and fumble method often causes us to miss this. And even this way of looking at the scriptures is not quite good enough.. we need to put the new testament narrative in the context of the eternal narrative – what Paul described as God’s eternal purpose, which He accomplished in Christ (Eph. 3:11). Without going into details about God’s eternal purpose (which is a massive topic on it’s own – but staggeringly awesome), we can sum it up simply by saying “By Him, through Him and for Him”. Christ is at the beginning of it all… He’s at the end of it all, and He’s even in the somewhat messy, chewy and glorious center of it all.
With this in mind — I was enjoying the word the other day and read Hebrews from beginning to end in one sitting and I was struck by an awesome picture. I will describe what I saw in the form of a narrative so you can understand what I am trying to get at:
“There was a group of Jewish believers who had stepped out of Judaism into the Christian faith. Christians were being heavily persecuted and many of the Hebrew Christians were wanting to go back to their old Jewish way of life to escape the violent persecution they were facing. One of these formally Jewish brothers noticed his brothers wanting to depart from the faith and turn back to their roots, but he knew that the new life in Christ was vastly superior to the old way of life. So he decided to write them a letter that would draw their attention to this glorious Lord in a way that would settle any doubts they had about the faith they had embraced.
He told them that in the past God spoke in various ways by the prophets, but in the last days He has spoken by His Son – Christ – who is heir over all things and who made all things and who is the exact representation of God – The God who revealed part’s of Himself to the prophets has been fully revealed in His Son.
He told them that Christ was better than the angels and that the angels worship Him. He told them that if the messages the angels gave were true – then how much more powerful is the message of Christ – whom the angels worship.
He told them that the hero of the Jewish faith – Moses – who was faithful in his house, was created by Christ and that Christ had more glory than even Moses just as a builder has more honor than the house itself and that they were now the house of Christ.
He told them that they should hold fast to their confession since they have a High Priest who can sympathize with their weakness. The priesthood of Christ is superior to the Aarons priesthood in that it is not a priesthood according to the law but an eternal priesthood based on a new covenant.
He told them that the priesthood of Christ was superior in that under the law the priests had to offer up daily sacrifices, which could never take away sins, but under Christ He Himself was the sacrifice made once for all and for all time.
He told them that Christ was the mediator of a better covenant established on better promises and that the old covenant is ready to vanish away. He described this glorious new covenant to them.
He told them that the priests entered the Holy of Holies once a year by making an animal sacrifice for sins, but Christ has entered through the sacrifice of His own flesh and there is no longer need for any sacrifice – Christ put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
He told them that they have been made clean by the blood of Christ and that they themselves could enter the Holy of Holies by Him and draw near to God.
He told them about all the heroes of the Jewish faith who had overcome through faith. He said that since they were surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses they should keep running the race looking to Christ the Author and Finisher of their faith. Christ was the beginning and end of their faith. They were to look to Christ as supreme over all the heroes of the faith.
He told them that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
He exhorted them to live in brotherly love and gave them practical ways of doing so. He had a deep love for the his fellow brothers and sisters and desired to be with them.”
To me this is a grand epic in revealing the supremacy of the eternal Christ and I barely touched the surface of this letter. Even though this letter was written to Jewish believers, we can appreciate how Christ is supreme in all things and it is Him alone that should be our focus and passion. I hope this blog post was useful and at the very least encouraged you in Christ! Amen.