Summary: What makes Jesus Christ Supreme in our lives. Yes, our mundane, day-to-day, mundane lives? What is the message of the Cross for us?
We are in yet another Lent season, meditating on the Power of the Cross, and this week we are specially focusing on the Supremacy of Christ. Rightly, so, the pastor has chosen the first four chapters of the Book of Hebrews for this study.
Those of us who are familiar with the book of Hebrews will know that this book establishes the Supremacy of Christ to the Jews very clearly and with evidence. The author starts off with comparing Jesus to the Prophets, and then the angels, and then to the heroes of faith as he calls the leaders of the bible, and so on and so forth. The author clearly establishes that Jesus is far superior to the Prophets, that Jesus is much higher than the Angels, and He is better than any of the heroes of faith. I am not going to go over those arguments again. There is enough argument about the same in the book of Hebrews, and it could be an interesting bible study for those of us who want to understand Jesus from the context of Prophets and Angels etc.
What the Lord has led me to meditate today is to think through some of the aspects of what makes Jesus Christ Supreme in our personal lives. Yes, in our mundane, day to day, roller coaster lives. What is the message of the cross for us?
By now, many of you know my own conversion story. It took a long 8 years after my marriage for me to be convinced about the Christian faith. I intentionally use the word Christian Faith here, because there are still certain things I cannot reconcile as Christian Religion. My conversion came after many years of careful and critical study of the bible and what it offers. One of the first things that struck me is the unbelievable concept of a personal God. The ability to have a personal relationship with God. This is very unique to Christianity and this is only because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. If you study any other major religion in the world, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism etc, you will realize the fact that human beings are separated from the deity through various means. Jews have their temple separation listed in the Judaic laws. Only the High priest can enter the Holy of Holies, and that too after much rituals of purification, and with trembling and fear. For many years, there was a legend go doing the rounds. The legend was like this. High priest entered the Most holy place in the temple with a bells in his garment around his waist (the bible does support this to some extent, in the High Priests garments) and a rope tied to his leg (the rope theory is not supported by any biblical evidences). The other priests waited in the Holy part of the temple and listened to the bell ringing, while the High Priest moved around inside the Holy of Holies. In case the bell stopped ringing, it was understood that the High Priest has been struck dead by the Lord, due to his sins that were not cleansed properly by the purification rituals. Then the rope was to be used to pull the dead body out. Of course most recent research debunks this legend just as a legend, with no facts to support the same. However this highlights the point about the separation between the Holiness of God and the sinful nature of man.
Similarly the Islamic hierarchy is that of Allah, being the all powerful and mighty with all others far far below him. Hindu temples have the sanctum sanctorum where only few selected priests are allowed. And never the common man. So basically all religious practices and laws prohibit common man from approaching God from too near. They need to maintain a distance and then appeal to the goodness and mercy of the respective gods. Jesus literally turned it around. Jesus gave the god-man relationship a personal nature. Hebrews 2:11-13 (NKJV) tells us For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You." And again: "I will put My trust in Him." And again: "Here am I and the children whom God has given Me." This passage talks about two parts of our relationship with God. The first is the union in Christ. We, the sanctified, are united through Christ, who sanctifies us. This is achieved through one Heavenly Father the Lord, One earthly father Adam, and one spirit. Secondly, is the endearing relationship that Jesus builds for us with the Triune God. Through the text that I read above, the author first declares what this relationship is , and then quotes three old testament passages to prove the point. Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. Why brothers and sisters? There is a saying that you cannot choose your family right? That is exactly what Jesus is saying here. He says come me to as you are. I am not ashamed of you. I will still call you my brother and my sister. Whoever acknowledges Him is His brother or sister. We don’t need to do anything else to become his brethren. He has already accepted us as His. Only thing we have to do is to believe in Him and grow in that relationship. This is unique in Christianity. This makes Christ Supreme to me.