Summary: Three rewards for being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ
Shiloh Bible Church
The Suffering Savior
You’re driving down Route 11 from Berwick to Bloomsburg. You’re zipping right along, doing 55 miles an hour. As you approach Bloomsburg, you come to a posted speed limit sign of 45 miles an hour. Your lovely wife—who is sitting next to you—softly reminds you to slow down. You conveniently ignore her gentle warning. A few seconds later she reminds you that you’re traveling faster than the speed limit allows. You grit your teeth and bark out, “Who’s driving this car?!” And you continue to drive 55. Just then you look into your rearview mirror and see a Scott Township policeman with his flashing lights. You pull off the side of the road. The policeman asks for your license and registration. And then he asks you if you knew you were doing 55. You politely say, “Yes, officer I did. And I was wrong. I’m sorry. It will never happen again.” He lets you off with a warning. And you continue driving down Route 11—only this time you don’t go over 45. Now, how is it that you’ll listen to a policeman when he tells you to go 45, but you won’t listen to your wife when she tells you to go 45? Could it be because he is a greater authority who can deliver more severe consequences? And so you listen carefully to what he tells you to do.
And so it is with Jesus Christ. As great as the Old Testament prophets are with a “Thus says the Lord” message; as great as the angels are with delivering the Old Testament Law to Moses, there is someone who is an even greater authority than they are. And that Someone is Jesus Christ. So the writer of Hebrews tells us that we need to pay close attention to Jesus.
In Hebrews chapter 1, we are told who Jesus is. The writer tells us that Jesus Christ is God. In Hebrews chapter 2 we learn that God became man. Jesus Christ left heaven and came to earth, being born of the Virgin Mary. We call this the Incarnation—God humbled Himself and became a human being. Jesus grew as a man and was put to death on a cross, suffering for you and for me.
The writer of Hebrews describes it in these words in 2:9: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
Jesus Christ died for you. While He was suffering on the cross, your sins were placed on Him. So He died bearing the sins of the world. The writer of Hebrews says, “he tasted death for everyone.” He died for your sins. He paid the penalty of God’s wrath for all of your wrongdoing. And He offers you a free gift of eternal life. All you must do to gain entrance into heaven when you die and to gain entrance into His future earthly kingdom is to place your trust in His death on the cross for your sins. And that’s what we mean by receiving Jesus as your Savior—trusting in Him and in Him alone to give you eternal life.
And once you do that, you become a child of God. But God doesn’t want you to stop there. Once you become His child, He wants you to grow in your relationship to Him. He wants you to become a devoted disciple and faithful follower of His Son. And that was the challenge that faced the recipients of this New Testament letter—the book of Hebrews. This struggling congregation was facing persecution for their faith in Jesus. And they were tempted to revert back to their old religion—the religion of Judaism—a religion that wasn’t facing persecution. They were seriously considering abandoning their Christianity and going back to their former Jewish religion. And so the writer of Hebrews writes to them to encourage them not to quit—not to jettison their faith in Christ. But instead to push forward and to persevere and to endure and to remain steadfast to the end.