Hebrews 1…A Go To For Confirmation Kids

Today’s lectionary reflection is taken from Hebrews 1:1-4. On a personal note, in order to explain what I’m talking about in the title, I’ve come back to this particular passage several times since beginning this current program year at my internship site at Prairie Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, MN. 2 or 3 times ‘ve had students ask me why God doesn’t seem to speak to us directly like in the Old Testament. This is the passage that I bring up for them to explain it.  Also, in a mostly unrelated note, the very first time I preached, way back in college (so we’re talking sometime in early 2001 here), I utilized this passage. I don’t recall if this was the focal scripture or not but I definitely referenced it.

The heading given to this portion of scripture is “God has spoken by His Son.” Verses 1 and 2 open with a direct answer to the question presented by the confirmation kids. “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days has has spoke to us by a Son…” Interesting…so right here in Hebrews we see that Jesus ushered in a change. Now granted we know that…new covenant in his blood and all that…not to mention all the other teachings that we hear about. But specifically, here in Hebrews we hear about a change in the way that God communicates with humanity. No longer are their prophets out there on mountainsides hollering out “Thus sayith the Lord!” (well, actually there still might be but we tend to question their validity these days).

Now, this raises a question. Just how does Jesus speak to us since he has gone on to Heaven? Great question, and its usually the follow up that comes from the kids when I present them with this passage. Well, Jesus continues to speak to us through scripture for one. We hear his story through the 4 Gospels. We hear some of his teachings here. We also hear them throughout the rest of the New Testament as well. So, in short, Jesus’ words are recorded within the Bible itself. Also, Jesus tells us that he will send the “advocate” (or Holy Spirit) several times in John (14:26, 15:26, and 16:7). He also says that the advocate will remind us of his (Jesus) words and teach us all things.

All that being said, this passage does raise some questions. In verse 2, we read that the Son was appointed heir of all things. Also in verse 3 we hear that he is “the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of Go’s very being…” Certainly this can raise the question of whether or not Jesus is separate from God…a debate which has raged within the doctrine of the church for centuries (and has produced several heretics along the way as well).  In my head, this portion of the passage simply indicates the separate nature of the members of the Trinity. 1 God, 3 natures…or 3 persons if you will…Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Each is fully God, but is a separate aspect of God.  So in short, what I’m suggesting here is that Hebrews 1:2-3 is telling us that Jesus is the “portion of God” that was put in charge of creation (verse 2) and is the physical image of the glory of God (verse 3). Gray area perhaps, but that’s my take on it.

Now verse 3 also raises another interesting point…that in which Jesus participates in creation. Yes, he had not taken physical form at the creation of the world in the beginning, but yet he was there to participate in it. But here in verse 3 we also hear that “he had made purification of sins.” This happened at his death on the cross. At this point, purification was made or created. It had not truly happened until this moment. Jesus himself…created true purification from sinfulness. Personally I think this is a very big deal. It was his purpose on Earth, at least in the first go round and when that had occurred, he was able to head off to Heaven for the time being. We see that in the wording of this phrase. “WHEN he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…”

So we see here that not only was Jesus involved in the original creation, but that he also continues to participate in God’s ongoing active creation. Pretty big news if you ask me.  There is certainly a lot going on here in these 4 short verses.

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