There isn’t a single command in Hebrews 1. Not one!
Hebrews 1 is a declaration that Jesus is better than everything else we attempt to put in front of Him. He is greater. He alone offers fullness of life. Wholeness. But there isn’t a command mentioned. Yet.
Until the word “therefore” shows up in verse 1 of chapter 2. “Therefore” is a word laden with meaning, isn’t it? It means what we’ve just read has consequences – it requires a response.
This declaration in chapter 1 MATTERS…so much so that the next verse is this: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it…how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”
Have you ever had something extraordinary happen to you, and then actually had to pause and reflect to really appreciate what’s happened?
My first job out of college was working for a U.S. Senator. At 22, I found myself walking through the halls of Congress to the floor of the Capitol, past political figures and government officials I had only ever seen on television or read about in books. I was living a life I had dreamed about as child.
But I was so busy doing my job, stressed out and hurrying from place to place, that the magnitude of the experience eluded me. I never stopped to acknowledge how exciting it all was! Until one day, I was in an elevator by myself, and it hit me all at once. I paused long enough to appreciate what had happened! I paused long enough to fist pump the air, do an embarrassing dance, and thank God for placing me in such an exciting moment. And the next task became a bit sweeter. I was more present. I was able to appreciate the goodness of the gift.
God gives us so many good gifts. Friends, family, spouses, children, work, food, water, heat, health…but even more, He has given us LIFE itself. We owe our very existence to Him. And it’s so easy to go about our lives in such a way that we ignore the goodness of what He has given us. The essence of this goodness is Jesus Himself. The good gift that supersedes all other good gifts is Jesus, and His life, death, and resurrection. He’s the gift that gives meaning to ALL other gifts.
“HEY!!! PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD!!!” is the cry of Hebrews 2. In the midst of our loud and busy lives, it is a full-voiced, arms waving, grace-filled plea to pause and reflect on the miraculous truth that God created humans in His image – with inherent value and worth – and loved us so much, that despite our rebellion and rejection, He continued pursuing us by sending Jesus, fully human and fully God, to live a life we couldn’t live, die a death we wouldn’t have to endure, and wait for it…to rise again so we could share in His resurrection and glory.
I know life is busy. I know it can be overwhelming – for better or for worse. But God forbid that we should neglect “such a great salvation.” God forbid that we should be so busy that we miss the goodness of the plot. God forbid that we should reject salvation.
Augustine once wrote this prayer, “You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us. Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.”
See you Sunday!