Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Hebrews. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses five through eighteen of the second chapter. When we come to this particular portion of the second chapter of the epistle we notice a shift take place—much like the shift which took place in the previous chapter. If you turn and direct your attention to the first chapter you will notice and discover that the author begins the epistle by declaring how God spoke at sundry times and in divers manners unto the fathers through and by His prophets. While it was true that God at one point spoke unto the fathers through the prophets, He has in these last days chosen a new and living way to speak unto men. The author of this epistle goes on to write how God has and how God is in these last days speaking unto us by and through His Son. While it is absolutely incredible and wonderful to read and consider the reality that God is in these last days speaking unto us through Jesus, the author goes on to emphatically proclaim and declare the absolutely sovereignty and supremacy of Jesus. The author of this epistle makes no apologies for boldly and emphatically declaring the supremacy of Jesus who is the Christ over everything that has been made and everything that is made. This particular author goes on to declare that Jesus is not only sovereign and supreme over the angels which are in heaven, but also over men which walk the earth. In all reality, that which we find and that which we read in the first chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews can be taken as a powerful statement and declaration—not only the supremacy of Jesus Christ, but also, if Jesus Christ is supreme over even the angels in heaven, then His word and the words which He speaks are supreme and sovereign over all other words. Pause for a moment and consider that reality—the reality that the word which Jesus speaks and has spoken is absolutely sovereign and supreme over every other word that is spoken in and over your life.
I can’t help but be reminded of the encounter between Jesus and His Heavenly Father af the waters of the Jordan River. I would also add that there at the waters of the Jordan River there was an exchange and encounter which took place—not only between Jesus and the Heavenly Father, but also with the divine Holy Spirit. You will recall at the Jordan River that the heavens were opened and a voice came forth from heaven declaring that Jesus was the beloved Son, and that in Him the Father was well pleased. This is actually quite astonishing and remarkable, for there is not a doubt in my mind that those words, as well as perhaps the voice of His Father were perhaps the single greatest reality present within the life of Jesus. In fact, I would dare say that Jesus would spend His entire ministry after returning from the wilderness where she was tempted by the devil living in and under the constant revelation that He was not only the Son of God, but also that the Father was pleased with Him. THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE SON AND THE PLEASURE OF THE FATHER. Oh how absolutely incredible this reality truly is when you consider it, for I am absolutely convinced that throughout Jesus’ entire earthly ministry—not only was the voice of His Father absolutely supreme within His life, but so also we’re the words which His Father has spoken. What’s more, is that there is not a doubt in my mind that the words which the Father has spoken, and the words she would continue to hear His Father speaking unto Him would be far greater and far more supreme within and over His life than anything any man, or even any devil could speak. This is an incredibly important reality to consider, for it is absolutely imperative that we reach and arrive in the place where the words and voice of the Father—and not only the words and voice of the Father, but also that which Jesus has spoken—are both sovereign and supreme within our hearts and lives. We must come to and arrive in the place where the words and the voices which are spoken and heard all around us pale in comparison to the words and voice of our Father in heaven, and by and through His Son.
Are we in such a place within our hearts and lives? Have we truly and deeply reached the place within our lives when the voice of the Heavenly Father is both sovereign and supreme within our hearts and our lives? How easily are we impacted by the words and voices which are continually present all around us, and how easily does what is spoken—and perhaps even how it is spoken—impact and affect us? How easily can and how easily are our emotions, our thoughts, our attitudes and our reactions and actions impacted by the words which are spoken all around us on a daily basis? How easily are we thrown up into arms because of the countless voices which constantly bombard us like waves crashing upon a ship? How easy is it for you to rise above the words and voices which constantly surround you, and which you are constantly inundated and bombarded with on a regular and daily basis? There is not a doubt in my mind that within and throughout Jesus’ ministry He was absolutely unaffected and unimpacted by the words and voices which were constantly buzzing all around Him. It is true that He reserved His harshest and His strongest judgments for the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the religious community that was present during His generation, but for the most part Jesus wasn’t at all impacted and affected by that which was spoken around Him. What’s more, is that Jesus wasn’t even impacted and affected by what was spoken to Him, for He was able to live in a place of complete rest and peace. I am utterly and completely convinced that it was hearing the voice of the Father at the Jordan River—a voice which not only spoke of identity, but also pleasure—that served as the incredible foundation within and throughout his ministry. That was one of two very specific moments within the life and ministry when the voice of the Father thundered from heaven and not only spoke of identity, but also of purpose and pleasure. It is true that at the Jordan River the voice of the Father spoke of and affirmed identity, as well as pleasure; and it is also true that on the mountain of transfiguration the voice of the Father once more affirmed identity and relationship, but also provided very specific instruction to hear and listen to Him. In all reality, there were two specific instances and occurrences within the life and ministry of Jesus where He audibly heard the voice of His Father speaking of and affirming identity and relationship, and those encounters served and stood as the foundation for His entire life and ministry those three and a half years.
THE SUPREMACY AND SOVEREIGNTY OF THE WORDS OF JESUS! THE SUPREMACY AND SOVEREIGNTY OF THE VOICE OF JESUS! When I read the words which the author of the epistle unto the Hebrews wrote in the first chapter of this epistle, I can’t help but be absolutely consumed with the absolutely necessity of us living our lives completely and totally inundated with and by the reality that the words which Jesus has spoken are absolutely supreme and sovereign over every other word which is spoken, or which has the potential to be spoken within our lives, or even over our lives. Oh, we have to come to the point within our lives where we can and are no longer impacted and affected with and by the words which are constantly spoken before and around us. It is absolutely impossible to escape the words and voices that constantly plague our society on a continual and daily basis. With that being said, I would dare say that there are countless times within and throughout the day when we need to detox our minds and our senses from the words and voices which are present all around us on a daily and continual basis. I am convinced there are multiple times within and throughout the day when we need to simply find a quiet place of rest and peace where we can turn off our senses, and completely remove ourselves from the words and voices that are constantly before us. Not only this, but there are very few men and women—even teenagers, young adults and children—who are bound by a handheld device they carry with them on a consistent and daily basis. Each and every day—not only are we inundated and bombarded with and by the words which are found on billboards, and buses, and various other means of advertisement, bu t we are also bombarded and inundated with what is found on the screens of our computers which we work with on a daily basis. What’s more—is as if this wasn’t enough—we are constantly bombarded with words, and voices and messages which are found on the screens of our mobile phones. Consider how often you open yourself up and expose yourself to a whole host of other words and voices—simply because you have countless applications installed on your phone. I recently read an article about how flip phones are making a comeback and resurgence, and this is largely due to the fact that such a device detaches us from the world around us and in all reality sets us free. If I am being truly and totally honest with you who are reading this, I would dare say that many of us need to be completely and totally set free from the devices we have in our homes—whether they be tablets, or cell phones, or laptops, or even television sets, and what’s not. Tell me dear brother, tell me dear sister—when was the last time you put down the cell phone and chose instead to pick up a book to read instead of looking at a screen? When was the last time you put down the tablet and picked up a book which you chose to invest your time, your effort and your energy in? What’s more, is when was the last time you put down and put away all of your devices, in order that you might pick up and read the word of God?
TURN IT OFF! PUT IT AWAY! As I am sitting here right now, I am completely and totally gripped and captivated with and by the reality that there is a tremendous need to turn off the various devices we have within our homes, and sometimes—perhaps even at our jobs—and simply be left to ourselves without any external stimulants. I am absolutely and utterly amazed by how much and how deeply we need to be stimulated—not only within and through our senses, but also our thoughts, our emotions, our feelings, our attitudes, etc. I am amazed by how truly dependent we are on the various devices we have within our lives, and so much so that there isn’t any room for anything else to enter in. I believe with all my heart that the Spirit of the living God is inviting us to turn off our devices, and to put away that which distracts us and consumes our time, our attention and our affections, and truly allow ourselves to be gripped and captivated by the words and voice of the living God. I am absolutely and utterly convinced that we are actively being invited by the Spirit of God to deliver and set ourselves free from anything and everything which distracts us on a continual and daily basis. If I am being honest with you who are reading these words, I must emphatically state that I too know what it’s like to be dependent on external stimulants. I know what it’s like to be dependent on mobile devices, as I not only have two cell phones, but I have an iPad, I have a MacBook, as well as two televisions in my apartment—both with Apple TV. Please note that I am in no way writing this to arrogantly brag or somehow boast of the technology I have, but to make you aware and bring you face to face with the incredible reality of how much I open myself up to a continual and constant bombardment of words and voices—simply because of the devices that I have—not only with me when I’m at home, but also while I’m at work. Each and every day I go to work—as if working with two computer monitors wasn’t enough—I also bring both of my cell phones with me. What do I do when I’m not working with my computer at work and moving back and forth between the monitors? You guessed it. I am on either one of my cell phones doing a variety of different thing. From Facebook, to Instagram, to various other apps that are on my phone, I am constantly consumed with words and voices and messages which consume and flood such websites and applications. I wonder what we would do and how we would respond if we were made aware of how much time we waste within and throughout a given day because we are so engrossed and so consumed with our mobile devices and all the distractions and voices that are present all around us. How would we respond, and how would we react if we were truly able to see how much time we are given each and every day, and how much of that time we are spending engrossed in our phones.
What we find in the first verse and first chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews is a powerful statement and declaration that God has spoken, and is in these last days speaking unto us by and through His Son. What’s more, is that the entire rest of the chapter is spent bringing us face to face with the tremendous reality that the Son of God is absolutely and completely sovereign over everything that has been made. In addition to this, we find the author writing and speaking of the eternal Son of God as “being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person,” thus indicating and declaring that Jesus is in fact the perfect representation and manifestation of the Father within the earth. This reality is and was echoed by the apostle Paul when writing unto the Colossian congregation: “who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is the head of the body, the church” who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:13-18). In the first chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we are first and foremost confronted with the reality that God is in these Last Days speaking unto us by and through His Son. Almost immediately after that we are brought face to face with the reality that the eternal Son is the express image and brightness of the glory of the Father—thus He is the absolutely representation, manifestation and embodiment of the eternal Father within the earth. Right after this the author of the epistle brings us to the place where we encounter the sovereignty and supremacy of Jesus who is the Christ over everything that has been created. In other words, within the first chapter of this epistle we are faced with the decision—not only whether or not to accept the supremacy and sovereignty of Christ, but also whether or not we are wiling to accept that sovereignty and supremacy within our hearts and lives. Are we truly willing to allow Jesus to be sovereign and supreme within and over our hearts and lives? Such is a powerful question which must be answered, for how and if we answer it can and will impact and affect the entire course and outcome of our lives.
As the second chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews opens and begins, it does so with the author calling us to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard. The reason and purpose for this is actually quite simple, for the author seeks to bring us to the place where we don’t allow those things which we have heard to slip, or run out as a leaking vessels. What’s more, is the author then goes on to write and provide us with a powerful warning concerning the word(s) which we have heard, and our response and obedience to that word by appealing to the word which was spoken by angels. The author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews writes and declares that if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed by those who heard Him. Essentially what we find in the second chapter is a powerful word of caution and word of warning concerning our response and our action toward the word which has been spoken by the eternal Son of the living God. The author of this epistle was sure to issue a strong and powerful warning by stating that the word which was spoken by angels was steadfast, and how every transgression and disobedience was judged accordingly. The author of this epistle is bring us face to face with the truth that—not only are we to give the more earnest heed to those things which we have heard, but we are also to respond to what we have heard. There is this powerful call to action, and this powerful call to respond as it pertains and relates to the words which Jesus has spoken, for the words which Jesus has spoken are absolutely sovereign and supreme over those words which have been spoken by angels. The author warns and cautions us concerning our response to the words which Jesus has spoken, and to diligently strive to ensure that we not only take heed to what has been spoken, but also that we respond and act upon that which we have heard. I feel the tremendous need to remind you who are reading these words of the words which James wrote in the first chapter of the epistle which is found in the New Testament. If you turn and direct your attention to the first chapter of the epistle which James wrote, you will find a powerful word of warning and word of caution concerning our response to the word of God:
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engraftment word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefined before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep Himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:19-27).
If you continue reading the second chapter of the epistle which the author of this epistle unto the Hebrews wrote, you will notice that there is a marked transition which takes place, for the author transitions first to the dominion of man within and upon the earth, but then transitions to the humanity of Christ. In all reality, we must admit and acknowledge the fact that both the humanity of Christ, as well as the dominion of man are intrinsically linked and connected. I am convinced that Christ has been given all dominion, and all authority, and all power, and all strength, but I am also convinced that the same authority and dominion He possesses is also available unto us. What’s more, is that I am convinced that one of the greatest assignments of Christ here upon the earth was to restore the dominion and authority of man within and upon the earth. Within that very reality we must first recognize and understand that when man was created, man was created with dominion and authority upon and over the earth. This reality is first witnessed and experienced in the Old Testament book of Genesis, and is also written and expressed in the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms. Consider if you will the words which are found in the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis beginning with the twenty-sixth verse: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:26-31). It is within this particular passage of Scripture where we first encounter the dominion and authority which man was created and designed to exercise and possess. This reality is further revealed in the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms:
“O Lord our Lord, How excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth” (Psalm 8:1-9).
Even though man was created in order that He might exercise dominion and authority within and upon the earth, he forfeited that authority and dominion through transgression and rebellion in the garden of Eden. In fact, if you journey to the New Testament gospel of Luke you will find that the authority and dominion which was originally given unto man was not only forfeited, but was also given unto another—namely, the one known as the Devil and Satan. Consider if you will the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke: “And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine” (Luke 4:5-7). Within this passage of Scripture we not only find Jesus being tempted by the devil, but we also find the devil making an emphatic statement and boast unto Jesus concerning that which had been delivered unto him. There is nothing in all of Scripture that is somehow inaccurate and false, so when the devil declared that all the power which Jesus saw, and the glory and splendor of all the kingdoms contained therein was given unto him, he wasn’t speaking a lie. I am convinced that one of the main functions the Lord was seeking to do through Abraham, as well as through the nation of Israel was to restore the dominion and authority that was originally given unto Adam in the garden, yet was forfeited through willful rebellion, transgression and disobedience. What we find in and through the account of Israel in the earth was an attempt to have a people within and upon the earth who would walk in and exercise the dominion and authority that was originally intended for Adam when he was formed from the dust of the ground. What we find, however, was that Israel—just like Adam in the garden—not only deliberately and willfully transgressed against the commandment and will of the Lord, but also as a result of their disobedience and transgression were removed from their place of authority and dominion upon the earth, and were even driven from the land in which they were planted. Adam and Eve were driven from the garden of Eden because of their disobedience and rebellion, and Israel was driven from the land in which they were planted because of their disobedience and rebellion. Oh, it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for until and unless we truly understand this, we cannot and will not understand that which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews was writing.
In the second chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we find the author of this epistle writing and declaring unto his audience the humanity of Christ as directly set against the backdrop of the authority and dominion of man. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that man was created to exercise dominion and authority within and upon the earth, and yet through disobedience and rebellion man not only forfeited that authority and dominion, but was also banished and removed from the place where he was planted in the earth. I am absolutely and utterly convinced that this is the underlying reason why Jesus needed to come in the form of a man, for in order to restore that which had been damaged due to man’s disobedience and rebellion, Jesus needed to come in the likeness and form of a man. This reality is seen in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John—first in the first four verses of the chapter, and then through verses nine through fourteen of the very same chapter. Consider if you will the words which are found in verses one through four of the first chapter: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:1-4). It is evident from these words that not only was the Word in the beginning, and the word was in the beginning with God, but the Word was also God. What’s more, is that all things which are made and have been made were made through and by the divine Word. When we come to verses nine through fourteen of the same chapter we find the humanity of Christ further demonstrated and revealed, for the apostle John sought to first and foremost bring us to a place of understanding concerning the humanity of Jesus Christ, and that when He came to the earth, He did not come in the form of angels, nor did He even come in the form and likeness of God as some supernatural being. No. Instead, Jesus took upon Himself the form of human flesh, in order that He might accomplish in the flesh what was damaged centuries earlier by the first man. Consider the words which the apostle John writes beginning with the ninth verse of the same chapter:
“That was the true Light, which lighten every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him now. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:9-14).
This reality is further expressed in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the Philippian congregation by the apostle Paul, and is found beginning with the first verse of the chapter: “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife of vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this. Mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that everything tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:1-11). It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that not only did God accomplish His greatest work through his Son, but He accomplished His greatest work through His Son who took upon Him the form of a servant—and not only the form of a servant, but also flesh and blood. We must recognize and understand this absolutely incredible reality, for such a reality must be understood if we are to understand our own place within and upon the earth. Christ needed to come in the form of flesh and blood in order that He might restore that which was originally forfeited by flesh and blood, in order that they might once more experience and enjoy that which they were originally created to experience.