Summary: Lent is a time of preparation, of discovering the road to a better life. There's no better place to begin than where Hebrews begins.
“The Road to a Better Life: Getting the Right Start”
Parents point their children down a certain path of behavior, learning, and discipline to try to steer them to a better, successful, healthy life. A good teacher encourages her top students to follow a structured, studious road to higher education, knowing it alone will prepare them for the greatest achievements. The doctor tells his patients of the rough road of treatment ahead, but reminds them that it is the road to healing, to a better life. All these scenarios, and so many others like them, are about preparing for a better, more wholesome, more productive future.
This morning is the first Sunday of Lent – and this is what Lent is all about. It’s a time of preparation, of discovering the road to a better, wholesome, productive life. That’s why the book of Hebrews is so appropriate for Lent – 13 times it uses the word better when talking about the life it lays before us.
So let’s begin where the author begins. THE ROAD TO A BETTER LIFE BEGINS WITH GOD. “In the past God spoke…” GOD HAS A HISTORY OF SPEAKING. Our God is a God who speaks to His people. He constantly introduces Himself. Hebrews states God had spoken in a wide variety of ways “through the prophets at many times and in various ways.” In creation He spoke life into existence - through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob he birthed a nation - in Moses He gave freedom to that nation - in David He made a dynasty of that nation - through his laws and covenants he provided a way of life for that nation - through the prophets He taught the nation - through the judges He corrected the nation - through the angels He alerted the nation. But no one way, no one person or event offered the full picture of God; they were all just pieces of the whole. It’s like this puzzle piece – from it you can learn something about the picture of which it’s a part – but you cannot see the whole.
“But”, says Hebrews; there is something greater, something better than the past. “In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” GOD’S GREATEST WORD IS JESUS. In Jesus God said something different, something more, something greater. In Jesus God said all He had to say. I’m reminded of the late flamboyant pianist Liberace. He was known not only for his piano playing but also for his extravagant wardrobe; he reportedly once said, “Go ahead and stare. I don’t dress this way to go unnoticed!” In Jesus God says, “Look at Jesus. I didn’t send Him to go unnoticed.”
Hebrews is stating that THE ROAD TO A BETTER LIFE IS JESUS, WHO IS SUPERIOR IN EVERY WAY. The author then lists eight qualities, eight qualifications that demonstrate Jesus’ superiority. First, JESUS IS THE HEIR OF ALL THINGS. Because of His death and resurrection, Jesus has come of age Jesus has inherited all God is and has. All God has and is belongs to Jesus. Jesus puts God in our reach and offers all of God to us. He alone is “the way, the truth, and the life.” No one comes to the Father except through Him. A better life, life with God, begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jesus is superior, secondly, in that HE IS CREATOR OF ALL THINGS. The apostle John put it like this (Jn. 1:3): “Though him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Paul wrote (Col. 1:16) “For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Jesus is the life-giver. In Jesus God was saying, LIFE! God’s last word is always LIFE! Jesus is the bearer of God’s life! Just listen to the testimony of Scripture: “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus said, “The Scriptures testify about me, but you refuse to come to me to have life.” “For My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life...” “...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” As John concluded his Gospel he wrote, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” A better life begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ.