How BIG is Your View of Jesus?
Sometimes the experiences of life in this world can make us feel rather small. The powers—powerful people, powerful governments, powerful forces in the world—are loud in their posturing against God and his people. “Why do the nations rebel and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers conspire together” (Ps. 2:1-2). They think they are big, and they can make us feel small. Further, the normal experiences of life, whether illness, or financial distress, or relational turmoil, can be hard, soul-grinding, reducing us, making God seem distant or small.
The book of Hebrews in the New Testament was written to a group of believers, probably in the city of Rome about AD 63-64, who had begun facing increased pressure or persecution for their faith. They were bruised emotionally and had become discouraged to the point that some associated with the church had left and others had one foot out the door.
To offer strong encouragement to his brothers and sisters in Christ, the author of Hebrews crafted a sermon (that’s what many scholars believe Hebrews is), the heart of which brings into crystal clarity who Jesus is and what he has accomplished on our behalf. The highly educated pastor knew that perseverance in the faith depends on people grasping deeply the identity of Jesus and his gospel work. Hebrews says to us, in short, if we get fuzzy on Jesus or the gospel, we are in deep trouble spiritually. We need clarity and perspective.
Thus, Hebrews 1:1-10:25 to a great extent focuses on the person and work of Christ, offering a very, very, VERY BIG view of Jesus. This extended reflection on Jesus begins with a bang, the author arguing that Jesus is much greater, higher in status than the angelic beings. He does this to set up an exhortation in 2:1-4. If people turned away from the Word of God delivered through angels, they were "toast." How much greater punishment is deserved by those who reject the Word of salvation that came through the superior Son?!!! If you reject the Word of salvation brought by Jesus, you are in a very, very bad place, under the judgment of God!
So in 1:5-14 the author of Hebrews strings together a number of Old Testament texts (rabbis called this method of proving something, “a string of pearls”) to show just how awesome Jesus is. For instance, in 1:10-12, speaking of Jesus, he quotes Ps. 102:25-27:
In the beginning, Lord, You laid the foundation for the earth,
and the heavens are the works of Your hands;
they will perish, but You remain.
They will all wear out like clothing;
You will roll them up like a cloak,
and they will be changed like a robe.
But You are the same,
and Your years will never end. (Heb 1:10–12)
When we built our home about 17 years ago, the first thing we did was dig the “footing” and pour a foundation, a vitally important step if you want a stable house.
What Hebrews is saying is that Jesus did that for the universe. He created the whole of what exists and did it in a way that it would be stable. We need to get our heads around that.
Robert Jastrow, a former head of NASA's Goddard Center, offers a word picture, an analogy, to help us begin to grasp the sheer immensity of just our galaxy. He writes,
“Let the sun be the size of an orange; on that scale of sizes the earth is a grain of sand circling in orbit around the sun at a distance of 30 feet; the giant planet Jupiter, 11 times larger than the earth, is a cherry pit revolving at a distance of . . . one city block; Saturn is another cherry pit two blocks from the sun; and Pluto, the outermost planet, is still another sand grain at a distance of ten city blocks from the sun.
"On the same scale the average distance between the stars is 2000 miles. The sun's nearest neighbor, a star called Alpha Centauri, is 1300 miles away. In the space between the sun and its neighbors there is nothing but a thin distribution of hydrogen atoms, forming a vacuum far better than any ever achieved on earth. The galaxy, on this scale, is a cluster of oranges separated by an average distance of 2000 miles, the entire cluster being 20 million miles in diameter. (Red Giants and White Dwarfs, 1990, p. 15).
On that scale. And Jesus is the One who SPOKE! And all of that, and all of the other galaxies that exist, came into being. He is that powerful. That’s who we are dealing with when we speak of Jesus. And that same Jesus who laid the foundation of the universe, will roll the universe up like a cloak at the end of the age, the Creator becoming the Terminator (said in my best Schwarzenegger voice). He will end the old in order to craft a new beginning.
How BIG is your view of Jesus?
The powers—powerful people, powerful governments, powerful forces in the world—along with all of our troubles, illnesses, and challenges in life, actually are VERY small in comparison to who Jesus is. They last only a moment.
But for those who are his, those who know him as the Great High Priest who has dealt so decisively with their sins, he is and will be their Savior. He is a powerful universe crafter, who can meet us at our points of need now, giving us perspective. And he will make for us a New Heavens and New Earth (Rev. 21:1), making our problems and challenges and opponents in this brief life seem very, very small.
Do you see how BIG Jesus is?