Summary: A look through the book of Hebrews to better learn who Jesus is.
October 15, 2017
It’s pretty easy to get a group of people into an argument. It’s not talking about politics . . . it’s about asking their opinions. It’s to ask the question . . . “What’s the greatest?”
So, let’s get the debate going . . .
What’s the greatest car ever made?
Who’s the greatest president ever?
Who’s the greatest basketball player of all time?
Who’s the greatest composer?
What’s the greatest movie of all time?
What’s the greatest Christian song?
These are pretty simple questions, but they can get a few people wound up because others are dissing or disagreeing with their opinion about who or what is the greatest. We can get pretty passionate about our opinions. Raising our voices, making our points, repeating our points.
When we think about this series about who Jesus is . . . one answer would be to say Jesus is the GREATEST! That’s really one of the points the author has been making all along. When Jesus is compared to the competition, the answer is always Jesus! Jesus is the greatest.
The writer demonstrated earlier in this book that - - - -
Jesus is greater than Angels (1:4-2:18)
Jesus is greater than Moses (3:1-6)
Jesus is greater than Aaron (4:14 to 5:10)
Jesus is greater than Melchizedek (7:1-17)
Today as we look at the final section of Hebrews 12, we are going to be reminded that grace is greater than the law.
To better understand this - we need to better know what is the LAW. The law is defined by the Hebrews word TORAH. The Torah for Jewish people is comprised of the first 5 books of the Bible in the Old Testament. Those would be
Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy
The word Torah means “The Law!” For the Jewish people they held onto the law. That’s how they lived their lives. Everything was about the law. They wouldn’t ask ‘do you know God?’ But ‘are you following the law?’ That’s what was most important for them.
In fact, in the first 5 books of the Bible there are 613 laws or commandments. 365 are thou shalt not, while 248 state you are supposed to do something. That’s a lot to remember and not mess up. The most well known laws are the 10 commandments, found in Exodus 20.
The point of this final section of Hebrews 12 is that we are no longer under the law, but we are under grace, through Jesus Christ. And being under grace is so much greater than being under the law!
So, let’s look at Hebrews 12:18-21
18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest
19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.
20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”
21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
The writer wants the people to look back to the scene in Exodus 19:16 and 18 in which we can paint a vivid picture of what was happening on Mt. Sinai. Moses was up on the mountain receiving the 10 Commandments from God, and this what the people are experiencing while Moses is up the mountain ~
16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain
and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.
18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire.
The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. – Exodus 19:18
It’s a tense situation. There’s drama. The mountain is dark, there’s smoke, the mountain is shaking. And the people are freaking out. They could not approach God on the mountain, except for Moses. Not even a beast was allowed to come near the mountain. It’s like the put a police line around the mountain so that nobody would approach it and go too far. If a person or an animal got too close, they would certainly die. Hebrews also tells us that Moses was even trembling. That’s how terrifying this scene is. And that is the exact image the writer wants us to understand.
Now he does a compare and contrast of Mount Sinai with Mount Zion.
He’s doing what we might try to do if we were to try and describe a zebra to a child who has never seen a zebra.
The child asks, “What is a zebra?”