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A short meditation on the Superiority of Christ

 

When we worship it is all about the Lord Jesus Christ - and in this we cannot rely on what we think we know, but as the writer to the Hebrews says: We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away [from the truth]

We need to be careful that our own attitude does not take on that of the world, that reduces God in general and the Lord Jesus Christ in particular - a title the world cannot bear to ponder - to be something like gold or silver or electronic or large and fast, or like an iphone or ipad. For this is what the Greeks had done, more than 3000 years ago; Paul says to the Athenians:

"Since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.“ (Acts 17: 28-31)

Here Paul speaks of the "Man whom He has ordained" - this being none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ comes to the world as a baby - for this is how all people come to this world, born of a woman, for we read "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel".

But the Angel goes on - this boy "will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

This makes him exceptionally superior to Joseph, his father, or indeed Jacob also his father (in the Hebrew sense).

However, the writer to the Hebrews goes further. This Jesus was not only going to be superior to Joseph and his father David (speaking generally) we see that his superiority was to be exceptional. The writer of Psalm 110 - King David - says: "The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."" Speaking of Christ himself - something even the Pharisees understood.

The writer to the Hebrews explains the Psalm and indicates it was Jesus Christ, who by one sacrifice, sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 10:22). This is very telling - Christ was much superior to all that had gone before that he acted only once to fulfil the task, then sat down - no other priest or indeed king had ever done this. Hebrews indicates the drudgery and perhaps dreariness of work of the priests who 'day after day offered sacrifices' all to no avail - the guilt of sin remained. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. (Hebrews 10:11)

Furthermore, this Jesus who sat down - sat down at the right had of God - the most superior position in the councils of God. He is now seated and awaits for his enemies (and David's) to be make his footstool. Those studying the Revelation this year will see how this will be done.

Jesus' superiority is also exemplified by the fact he was an appointed high priest for it was the high priest that could offer sacrifices which would atone for the sins of the people. It is the high priest that had to be merciful and faithful in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people as the book of Hebrews states. Furthermore, Jesus could not appoint himself as a high priest - no-one could become a high priest unless he had been appointed. The Christ was appointed by God - call by God as Hebrews puts it, to not only be the high priest, but also be the sacrifice. And it was the obedience of Christ that marks him out as superior. Adam was not obedient but Christ was: Christ on the command of His father said: “Here I am, I have come to do your will, O God.“ (Heb 10:9)

So what makes Jesus special? Firstly he was not of the tribe of Levi, nor indeed of the house of Aaron - Jesus was appointed after a gentile order - the superior order of Melchizedek, King of Salem, priest of the Most High God. No Aaronic priest was ever called this, that is, a priest of the Most High God - only Melchizedek. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were servants of the Most High God, Abraham served the Most High God, but Jesus was called a Son of the Most High God (Mark 5:7). This makes him far superior of all those that have gone before.

Why is this important? The priesthood of Aaron and the Levites had failed completely - they could do nothing to take away our sin - to redeem anyone from condemnation. Indeed, this was their fundamental failing - they could not deal with guilt. Jesus Christ's sacrifice is able to cleanse us from a guilty conscience (Hebrews 10:22). He is able to clear the conscience of the worshippers (Heb 9:9 NIV).

This Lord's Supper look[s] unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God . (Heb 12:1).

He suffered or endured the cross in two ways: Firstly his body was tortured: stricken, smitten, afflicted, wounded, and bruised. This goes way beyond the physical body - he was A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He has borne our griefs. And carried our sorrows; - he was mentally tortured as well as physically tortured.

Secondly he shed blood - evidence of his death: one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.

The bread is His body that suffered for us, and the wine the blood that he poured out - or more properly emptied out. It is therefore with thankful hearts we can worship the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing of his superiority of anything that has gone before and will be ahead.

 

David Simon (GBC Jan 2012)
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