A Hope Focused on Jesus

KEY VERSE: “This is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” — I John 4:11

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I John 4:13-17; 5:1-12

INDEED the record of God’s Word is centered around Jesus. It’s prophecies foretold and pre-pictured his first and second advents. The Gospels record his life as a Savior for mankind. The writings of the apostles reveal how the church now, and the world in the future, are recipients of his work of salvation.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews is a unique example of expressing how Jesus is the focal point of God’s plan of salvation. Throughout this book, the Apostle Paul extols Jesus Christ as the great Redeemer and Messiah sent by God. The method therein pursued by the apostle was to call attention to the prominent characters of the Old Testament, showing how great they were and how wonderfully God used them; and then, to call attention to Jesus Christ as the greater hero of faith, and as the one who has been and will be most outstandingly used by God. In the twelfth chapter, Paul reaches his climax when he tells us to look unto Jesus as our great example and helper in running the race for the prize.

In the first two chapters, the apostle throws the spotlight of attention on the angels. The Law, he says, was “spoken by angels” (Heb. 2:2), and quotes many scriptures from the Old Testament, acknowledging the glory and the official station of these heavenly servants. Then he turns the reader’s attention from the angels and focuses it upon Jesus, describing the still greater honor and glory that belong to him.

“Being made so much better than the angels, as he by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. … Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.” (Heb. 1:4-8) Then the apostle refers to Moses, explaining how he was highly favored of God as the mediator of the Law Covenant. The apostle makes a comparison with Jesus, and we see him as the Mediator of a better covenant: “For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses.”

Next our thoughts are directed to Aaron, the high priest under the Mosaic Law Covenant arrangement. God himself chose Aaron for this position. Likewise Jesus was chosen by God to be a High Priest. “Such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.”—Heb. 5:4,5

In the seventh chapter, Paul proceeds with his eulogy of Jesus by reminding us of Melchisedec. Contrasting this priest with those under the Mosaic Law, he writes: “(For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord swore and will not repent, thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec;) by so much was Jesus made a surety of a better covenant.”—Heb. 7:1-3,21,22

Then Paul shows Jesus as the Mediator of a better covenant which will accomplish for mankind all they need in order to gain eternal life. “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts. … And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”—Heb. 8:10

Paul continues with the imposing ritual of the Tabernacle service. He causes the grandeur of the typical Tabernacle to fade out as he contrasts the brilliancy of the antitypical tabernacle with its better sacrifices and its better high priest, Jesus Christ. This brings us to the eleventh chapter, where we are shown a whole gallery of portraits. Each one pictures the faith and loyalty of some Ancient Worthy of the Old Testament.

Then the apostle reaches his grand climax in the twelfth chapter as he again moves the spotlight to the greatest of all heroes of faith, telling us to “look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (vs. 12) Thus we are left thrilled with a realization that Jesus richly deserves this honor, and is indeed not only our Redeemer but also our forerunner and example, who is able and willing to help us win iris race set before us.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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