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Daily Readings/ Editorial

DAILY READINGS

Scriptures to be read before the sermon on Sunday, September 14:

Monday: Hebrews 2:1-8

Tuesday: Psalm 8:1-9

Wednesday: Hebrews 2:9-12

Thursday: Psalm 22:22-25

Friday: Hebrews 2:13-18

Saturday: Isaiah 8:11-18

EDITORIAL: “Pay More Careful Attention”

The writer of Hebrews begins in chapter one by presenting Jesus as superior to all things in both heaven and earth. Why would the writer take so much space and go to such great lengths to belabor what appears to be so obvious? It was because the original hearers of his message were settling for less. They were getting caught up in other things and allowing those things to push Jesus out of the picture in their lives. The result was that they ended up taking their focus off of Jesus.

To deal with that kind of a problem, the writer goes into elaborate detail using the most exalted language he can muster to present the grandest picture of Jesus possible. The idea is that if we have a big enough picture of Jesus then He will always be bigger than temptations and problems (for He can help because of what he endured if He is not pushed out of the place of priority, that is, the greatest – see Hebrews 4:15). As such, we should not settle for a view of Jesus that is too small. We would not go to a sports venue and leave after the National Anthem was played and think we had seen the entire ball game. Nor would we go to a circus parade and think that we had seen the actual circus performance. We must not then drift into other things and allow them to become greater in our lives than our focus on Jesus.

After presenting this incredibly great picture of Jesus in Hebrews 1, the writer transitions to his first exhortation: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:1-3)

Dr. Gary Holloway in his commentary on the book of Hebrews writes that although these words from the beginning of Hebrews 2 sound ominous and may seem harsh, they do share good news. They remind us of what is at stake, that is, our salvation. The contrast here is with the message spoken in the Old Testament by angels (Deuteronomy 33:2) and the new covenant brought by Christ (Galatians 3:19-25).

There is good reason to pay more careful attention, and not because we fear punishment as those in the Bible experienced when they neglected the message of God. It is because Jesus is God’s final word to us. If we do not pay attention to Him, that is, if we do not get the complete picture of who He is and how we should follow Him, there is nowhere else to turn. He is the One who provides such a great salvation.

The writer of Hebrews will return to this message of exhortation over and over again throughout his letter. This week if temptations or problems begin to grow, before they become so big that they push Jesus out of the picture, remember the words of exhortation from the writer of Hebrews – Listen! Pay Attention! Get a big enough picture of Jesus! And when you have that picture clearly in mind, then do not neglect it. Don’t settle for less! Keep it in sharp focus! And allow His picture to help you endure just like He did – Hebrews 12:2-3.

John Harp