for Signs and Wonders

The third quote the writer uses to show us how Jesus identifies with us comes from Isaiah 8:18.

“BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.” – Hebrews 2:13

Here’s the original:

Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. – Isaiah 8:18

Oh, how I love this verse. It’s so packed! Let’s just break it down and feast a while this morning.

Behold…

He begins with LOOK! What He’s about to tell us is evident. He’s not revealing hidden truth here, but something that can be seen and understood with our senses.

…I…

This I is the I AM. We can be sure of this because of this reference in Hebrews. Isaiah once again is bringing Jesus to our attention.

…and the children…

We know this is us. In Isaiah, 2 verses earlier the Lord specifically calls us “my disciples.”

…whom the Lord has given me…

These children are not begotten by Jesus, but given to Jesus, committed to His trust. The Father entrusted Jesus with His (the Father’s) flock to shepherd them. This flock is the Church for whom the shepherd laid down His life. The Father gave us to Jesus, and He paid the full purchase price for our freedom.

…are for signs and wonders…

Somehow this flock thinks it’s mission in life involves sitting in pews and being entertained.

Jesus trained us.
God empowered us.
The Holy Spirit filled us.

And yet we sit.

That’s not our call. God calls us to signs and wonders.

…from the LORD of hosts…

Not some sappy signs, like a smile or friendly nod on the sidewalk. Signs from the Lord of hosts look like something, Jesus sized signs and wonder–NO–bigger than that. Signs so big you can’t even imagine it now.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.John 14:12

It makes me so sad when I hear preachers minimize this promise.

You know…

Radio is the greater work.
Television is the greater work.
Our money will buy more influence than Jesus carried.

NO!

It’s not even possible for Jesus to lie. When He starts a verse with Truly, Truly, how dare we diminish or explain away what He said.

It’s not unclear.
It’s doesn’t use hard to understand words.

the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do

But it will never happen as long as we won’t,

1 – believe it
2 – free our selves from distractions
3 – press in for it.

Why did the Father give Jesus children?

We are for signs and wonders.

We MUST begin to walk in this light. We can’t ignore our calling any longer. God never intended the Church of Jesus Christ to sit idly by and watch the world–in judgment and condemnation–but to turn it upside-down.

But Ben…how do I start?

Begin to call those things that are not as though there were.
You can simply take this verse and begin to declare it over yourself.
I am for signs and wonders!
I am for signs and wonders!
I am made for greater works the Jesus!
When I walk into the room, the Spirit of the LORD of Hosts comes in.
When I step into my workplace, the Prince of Peace enters with me.
When I speak healing and health over folks at Kohl’s, Jehovah Rapha confirms my words (His words) with signs following.

Get His word in your mouth, and let Him use you today.

Ok – I’m excited. I wonder what today holds?

BenHeadshotAs you go…

Be light…

Ben

Missed something – catch up with us here.

The Same

Earlier in this Hebrews series, we looked at some verses that form the basis for my understanding of theology. Here’s another.

…BUT YOU ARE THE SAME… – Hebrews 1:12 NASB

This truth bookends Hebrews.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

I said if you want to know what God is like–what kind of things He does–what kinds of things He doesn’t do, you look at Jesus. Jesus ONLY did what He saw His Father do.

These bookend verses make this theological idea vastly more potent.

If Jesus healed every sickness and disease while He walked through the little towns of Galilee, He still does.

If He ever had compassion on a sinful woman or man, He still does today.

If He ever hated hypocrisy He still does today.

If He ever brought salvation to a repentant sinner, He still does today.

This is why the gospels are so important. We must look at Jesus. He will show us the Father.

Remember in John 14 when Jesus was preparing the boys for His crucifixion?

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? – John 14:8-9

There it is, my theology in a nutshell.

Look at Jesus

cropped-BenHeadshotThanks for stopping in.

Have a great day.

Ben

Have you missed some of this series – you can go back and pick up what you missed here.

The Sitting Savior

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, – Hebrews 1:3 NASB

He sat down.

Seems simple enough. This writer makes Jesus the one choosing to sit. But what do we know about Jesus? He only does the will of the Father. So let’s peak over at the book of acts for a minute and see another perspective on this moment in history.

Maybe you’re saying–Jesus sat down–historic moment? It sounds like–well–nothing, really.

Oh, but it is a moment.

“Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, – Acts 2:29-30

On the day of Pentecost, Peter, preaching to the thousands gathered there, Jews from many nations, talks about this promise to David. And in this case, who is doing the seating?

God the Father seated Christ on His eternal throne, at His own right hand.

There is one more thing I want to point out from this tail end of Hebrews 1:3.

When did God rest? When creation was finished.
When did Jesus rest? When salvation was complete.

IT IS FINISHED!!!

What exactly is finished?

Let’s dust off the idea of salvation with a little word search.

The New Testament uses the Greek word Sozo. We find it used and translated a number of ways. Here are a few:

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” – Matthew 1:21 

But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well. – Matthew 9:22

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. – Matthew 18:11

And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road. – Mark 10:52

Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well. – Luke 8:36

I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.John 10:9

‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’ – Acts 2:21 

As you can see from these examples, this concept of Sozo reaches beyond saving a soul from the torments of hell. It’s about wholeness, akin to the Hebrew word Shalom. Sozo covers the body, the soul and the spirit of a man or woman.

John opens the last of his letters with this greeting, which in my mind sums up Sozo, even though the word is not used here.

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. – 3 John 1:2

When Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father He was finished with His work of Sozo, salvation. As our study will ask in the second chapter:

how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? – Hebrews 2:3

Thanks for sticking with me on this Hebrews project. I learn so much as I go line by line through this book. I hope you’re gleaning here too.

cropped-BenHeadshotBlessings.

Shine on,

Ben

Need to catch up? Follow this link to the entire study.

Exact Means Exact

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, – Hebrews 1:3 

I said yesterday that most days this is my favorite verse in all of scripture. But why?

In just eight words, the writer gives me a Christology, an understanding of Jesus. It covers my core theological belief. Clear up the pronouns and this is what you get: Jesus is the exact representation of God’s nature.

Jesus is God’s will.

Look at Jesus and see God’s heart for every situation imaginable.

Much time is wasted either trying to find God’s will or assigning random life or natural events to the will of God. But there is a really simple test. Compare it to Jesus.

Do what?

I’m glad you asked.

(Heard from a pew a few rows back…hypotheically of course)

My something-in-law just lost her battle with cancer. I’m so glad to know God’s in control and this was according to His plan. She learned so much from this ordeal and so did I.

Really?

Warning – the following paragraph might make you mad. Please forgive me.

God, in control, gave your something-in-law cancer so that she could learn some stuff and then die and go to heaven? Aside from the obvious question that pops into my mind, (Why not kill her up front and teach her in person?) when did God’s express image ever do such a thing?

When the disciples said to Jesus, “Teach us to pray,” Jesus gave them a prayer, not a tumor. He could have said–“Here’s some cancer–you’ll sure pray now.” NO! Not Jesus. That’s not the way Jesus did things, and therefore CANNOT be the way God does things.

If you have a God who kills, steals and destroys, you are worshipping the wrong guy. The thief comes to do all that–never the Good Shepherd.

Here’s another one. The insurance company won’t pay a claim on a home ruined by a tornado. They call it an act of God. (Maybe they don’t use that phrase anymore, but we still think that way.) When Jesus told the storm to shut-up out on the lake, was He undermining the will of God?

It kind of makes that “God is in control” thing a little fuzzy.

lightning and tornado hitting village
Photo by Ralph W. lambrecht on Pexels.com

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that God is in control of the story arc of history. I don’t think man or devil could have stopped Jesus from walking that road to the cross.

But are there things in our lives that Jesus would have put a stop to, if He were here, that you just let ride?

News flash–He is here! Moreover, He gave you the power, the authority and the example to deal with the thing yourself.

This is a big deal.

Circumstances and conditions oppress many in the body of Christ. This misunderstanding about God’s will ransacks the church. It affects all aspects of our lives. Sickness and disease rob us of so many loved ones. Poverty and lack keep us from walking in generosity like our Father, the giver of all good gifts. Guilt and shame hold us back from sharing our faith and preaching the good news. In fact, our misconceptions about what God is like makes it hard for us to believe it really is good news. So we remain silent, trapped in religion, with no concept of a New Covenant that is frankly, better than the Garden of Eden.

OK – enough for one day. The New Covenant is one of our main themes for Hebrews, so we’ll have time to dig in deeper in future days.

I’ll be back soon with more, and I’ll still be in verses 3 so don’t turn the page just yet.

BTW–I tagged this post with a little geek speak if you’re interested. (See below)

cropped-BenHeadshotBlessings

See you soon.

Ben

If you’ve missed anything – check out the Hebrews page to get caught up.

Geek Speak:

I wanted to tackle the Greek word for exact today. You know how preachers do that “In the Greek, all means all” or “always means always” or “whosoever…”

So I was going to pull one of those, (see post title) but imagine my surprise when I found that exact is not a separate Greek word in this text. In English, it’s an adjective telling us what kind of representation. But in Greek, one word (charaktēr) translates to “exact representation” or “express image” as it says in the KJV.

Jesus is the charaktēr of the Father.

Interesting…

Ok – done geeking for the moment.