Category Archives: Jesus

Such a High Priest – Hebrews 7:26

For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens (Hebrews 7:26).

crosses3Many religions have high priests, but only Christianity has a high priest who is perfectly holy, innocent of any  and all wrong doing, unstained by the sinful nature we inherit from Adam, separated from sinners by his righteous life, and exalted above everything in heaven and on earth. To him, and him alone, we must look for our salvation.

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He Always Lives to Make Intercession – Hebrews 7:25

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).

As we continue to work our way through the book of Hebrews in our Sunday morning Bible study, we hit that verse last week. Wow! What a powerful verse (set in the powerful context of Hebrews 6-10) demonstrating the great assurance of salvation we can have in Christ Jesus. I know that my salvation is not at risk because Jesus not only lives again after paying for my sins on the cross, but he always lives to make intercession for me. I did not save myself. I am not keeping myself saved.

budda_statuesWhat a contrast this provides to so many man-made religions. Religions in which their objects of worship are not alive. Religions in which Jesus does not save to the uttermost, but only helps out after you have done enough on your own. Religions in which you can lose your salvation today when you sin and then have to work to reacquire it through rituals. And then face the same challenge again tomorrow. Religions in which you hope you have done enough good to counter your bad.

I have been saved to the uttermost and continue to be saved to the uttermost because Jesus lives. Not because of anything I have done. Hallelujah and Amen!


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Like His Brothers in Every Respect – Hebrews 2:17-18

Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18).

What an incredible thought. Well, actually there are probably 1000 incredible thoughts buried in those 2 verses, but right now I am thinking of Jesus, the great God of the Universe, the Creator of all things, the eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, God being made like me. And like you. To lie in a dirty stable at his birth. To walk the long, dusty roads to proclaim the Good News of the kingdom. To heal and comfort the afflicted. To bring salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. To die. For sinners like me. And for sinners like you.

crown_of_thornsTo be made like me and you so that He could how us mercy. To turn away the deserved wrath of God. To have empathy in our sufferings. To help us in our times of need. To mediate between us and the Father. To be our merciful and faithful high priest in serving God on our behalf. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

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There is Fear and There is FEAR – Mark 4:41

capsizeTwo Sundays ago, my pastor was continuing his sermon series working through the Gospel of Mark. The text for his sermon was from the end of Mark chapter 4:

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35-41).

It is easy to understand the great fear of the disciples as their little boat takes on water amid this great storm. I would be terrified too! All are saved, of course, when Jesus is awoken and miraculously calms the storm with just a word. Hurrah!

What I had never noticed before in this passage was the disciples’ response after Jesus calmed the storm—”they were filled with great fear.” They were filled with more fear after Jesus calmed the storm than they were in the midst of the great storm when they thought they would perish at the bottom of the sea. We might naturally expect these men to collapse in relief at the passing of the storm. Instead they are filled with great fear? Why? Because they recognized that the real power was not in the storm, but in the man standing before them. They were standing in a little boat, face-to-face, with God Himself. In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah also came face-to-face with God in a vision. Isaiah’s response was the same as those disciples in that little fishing boat; FEAR. Capital F, capital E, capital A, capital R:

“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”(Isaiah 6:5).

So, what do you FEAR?


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The Exact Imprint of God’s Nature – Hebrews 1:3

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus is described here in the ESV translation as having the “exact imprint” of God’s nature. Other translation render this as the “exact representation” (NASB) or “express image” (KJV), but the idea is the same. Now, this book of Hebrews was written to, well naturally, Hebrew people. That is, people who had come from an Old Testament Jewish background. And how does Old Testament define the nature of God?

  • Eternal – “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2).
  • All Powerful – “Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).
  • All Knowing – “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5).
  • Omnipresent – “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24).
  • Unchanging – “For I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

wax_sealThis is only a partial list of the characteristics of God’s nature. If you omit any of these characteristics, you have grossly neglected describing the one true God of the universe. And if Jesus did not possess any of these attributes, then he would in no way be the “exact representation” of his nature as described in Hebrews chapter 1. But Jesus did possess all those characteristics and all the others I did not list, because he was truly God in flesh. And this was to fulfill what had been foretold by God through the prophet Isaiah long before Jesus’ birth:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

The Mighty God came down in the form of a child to save his people from their sins.

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Make Your Friends a Footstool for Your Feet? – Hebrews 1:13

Everywhere I turn lately it seems I am confronted with the writings of another “Christian” who proclaims that everyone is going to heaven because Jesus loves everyone just the way they are. Apparently this must be the blond-haired, blue-eyed, non-judgmental surfer Jesus. It is clearly not the Jesus described in the Bible. For example, Hebrews chapter 1 borrows liberally from the Old Testament in its description of the real, Biblical Jesus:

“Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? (Hebrews 1:13).

If Jesus loves everyone just the way they are, then he cannot really have enemies. Therefore, he must be making his friends a footstool for his feet. I really love my wife. I wonder if she would like to be a footstool for my feet? Yeah, probably not. This imagery of Jesus as the conquering king is incompatible with the surfer Jesus. Also, earlier in Hebrews, Jesus is said to hate wickedness:

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness (Hebrews 1:9).

It is because Jesus hates the wickedness of sin that he will judge. And we do not have to look very hard in this sinful world to see people who are clearly the enemies of Christ Jesus. Yet, so many people want to try to convince you that Jesus loves everyone unconditionally; even his most vocal enemies. There is no reasonable way to align the teachings of these “Christian” universalists with the clear teachings of the book of Hebrews or the rest of the Bible. They have crafted a false god whom they may call Jesus, but he is not the true Jesus of the Bible.

The demons know of the real Jesus and shudder! Why? Because they are his enemies and know his power and of the judgment to come. Read your Bible for yourself and learn about the real Jesus, before it is too late lest you die as one of his enemies.


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A Strong Angel – Revelation 5:2

As I work through Hebrews chapter 1 for our Sunday Bible study, I have been reading a lot more about angels then I have in the past. One word describing an angel in Revelation 5:2 really caught my eye:

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it (Revelation 5:2-3).

The book of Hebrews goes to great length to show that Jesus is greater than all the angels, but I thought it was really interesting here in Revelation chapter 5 that even the strong angel could not open the scroll and break its seals. I immediately wonder, “What does a strong angel look like in relationship to a weak angel?” Bulging biceps? 50 feet tall? I have no idea, but clearly the apostle John could differentiate between strong and weaker angels when he saw them in his vision? Now, every word in Scripture is important. So why are we told that this was a strong angel?

The focus here in Revelation 5 is that no created being—not even the strong angel—could break the seal and open the scroll. This caused John “to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll” (Revelation 5:4). But, there was good news:

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5).

Jesus open the scroll that even the strong angel could not. Why? Because he was worthy:

Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).

crossHe had ransomed a people for God through his shed blood on the cross. No mere human could provide the ransom. No strong angel could provide the ransom. No created being in heaven or on earth could provide the ransom. Only the Son of God, Jesus Christ, could provide the much-needed ransom. And because of that Jesus is deserving of not only our worship, but the worship of every living creature:

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13).



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Jesus was not Christ-like! Huh?

Everyone likes to slap the Pharisee label on anyone who makes any sort of value judgment on anything these days. The Barna group recently conducted a survey trying to determine if Christians were more like Christ or more like the Pharisees. Respondents were asked to rate themselves according to how they agree with various statements. One of the supposed “Pharisee-like” statements was:

I like to point out those who do not have the right theology or doctrine.

Now, the “I like to” portion of this statement makes it a loaded question from the beginning. For example, I do not necessarily “like” to discipline my children, but it is both necessary and commanded by the Bible. But more importantly, Jesus could be considered a Pharisee (and therefore not Christ-like) by this metric. Since he “liked” to be obedient to the Father that means he, in one sense, “liked” to point out people’s theology and doctrine errors. Often he did this using very strong language. For example:

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? (Matthew 23:16-17).


That is a judgment of the Pharisees’ doctrine. Shame on Jesus! Or, how about this:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others (Matthew 23:23).

Would this judgmental Jesus be welcomed in our churches today? How about telling people to stop sinning? Yep, Jesus did that too:

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you” (John 5:14).

Jesus even pointed out when people had the incorrect view of God (i.e. bad theology):

“You are doing the works your father did.” [The Pharisees] said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father–even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. (John 8:41-42).

Tell people to stop sinning? Check! Tell people they have incorrect doctrine? Check! Tell people they worship a false god! Check! What a judgmental Pharisee that Jesus of the Bible was! I do not want to sit at his table at the next church potluck.

Now, of course, we can push the pendulum too far in both directions. We do need to address sin. We do need to correct false doctrine and bad theology. But, we also need to do that out of a desire that our hearers repent and come to saving faith in the real Jesus. It needs to ultimately come from a love for others. It is often a difficult, but necessary, balance to strike.

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Everything in subjection to him – Hebrews 2:7-8

Throne and footstoolOccasionally…OK…quite regularly, it is helpful to go back to Scripture and be reminded that God really is the sovereign king. That Jesus really is in control of every little bit of this broken, sinful, messed up world:

You made him [Jesus] for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him (Hebrews 2:7-8).

I sometimes, quite selfishly, desire that Jesus would come again immediately. Then, I think of so many friends and family that are not saved. Friends and family that, if Jesus came today, would only experience his eternal judgment and not his eternal grace and love. And, I can only be thankful that Jesus continues to be patient with them as he was patient with me.

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Jesus is Lord and God – Jude 1:5

The little book of Jude packs quite a wallop into its 25 verses. While most of it is focused on calling out false teachers, there was one little word that really caught my eye when looking through it this week:

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe (ESV, Jude 1:5).

Can you guess which word it is? I know that every preschooler at church would guess the word because they shout it out as the answer to 90% of all questions – JESUS! Take a look at that verse above again. We usually do not think of Jesus being the one leading the people out of Egypt a few thousand years before his birth. But, Jesus himself affirmed his existence prior to that event:

Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58)

ClockNow, depending upon your translation of the Bible, you may have either “Lord” or “God” in place of “Jesus” in Jude 1:5 as there are ancient textual variants on this verse. The modern translators have to decide which ancient version is most likely the original. But, ultimately it does not matter much since we Christians, like Thomas before us, proudly declare Jesus to be both our Lord and our God:

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

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