One of the most interesting questions you could ask a group of Christians is, “What is your end goal in life?” This question would be interesting to ask for many reasons, but the most obvious is that you would probably receive different answers from different people. The most common would likely be, “to get to heaven,” and indeed the nobility of this answer cannot be questioned. Some, however, would answer differently. They may say, “to bring others to Christ” or “to know as much as I can about the will of God.” Recently, a friend of mine about my age told me that his goal is to live his life so that one day, he might be an elder in the church. All of these are among the noblest pursuits known to man, and all of them are acceptable answers to this question. I would argue, however, that they can all be boiled down to one answer that may be the best of all. If we are true Christians, our goal should be to become more like Christ. If we truly understand the message of the Bible and the impact of Christ’s ministry and sacrifice on our eternal lives, I believe I can say with confidence that this should be the goal of everyone who seeks to bear His Name.
I have mentioned before that Hebrews is my favorite Book of the Bible for many reasons. Among those is the extent to which the Hebrew writer discusses the work of Christ today in His role as our heavenly High Priest. This is not the only aspect of Christ’s identity that is discussed, however. In the first segment of the Book, as he begins setting up his argument about the magnificence of the Savior that is seen throughout, the author of Hebrews discusses the “simpler” (more easily understood) role of Christ as the Son of God. The first chapter of Hebrews is basically a Scriptural discussion of the preeminence of Jesus as opposed to the angels, the other known heavenly servants of God the Father. This is another part of Hebrews that fascinates me, as hours of theological discussion may easily erupt from just these fourteen verses and the implications of this concept upon the whole of the Bible.
The transition between this discussion of Christ’s superiority and the practical applications of that knowledge is found in chapter 2, and it is here that one of the greatest statements in the Bible about the believer’s relationship with Christ is made. The first few verses speak to the need to acknowledge Christ, both because God has borne witness to Him (v. 4) and because the world to come has been put in subjection to His Name (v. 5-8). Then, verse 9 begins with these words: “But we see Jesus[.]” The writer has just finished discussing powers and forces that humans could never understand on our own. The idea of angels and what exactly their role and purpose in the will of God are are notions that have been debated for centuries, and this is just one example of the “deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10) that we as humans struggle to grasp or comprehend. The sense expressed in this short phrase is that it doesn’t matter what we are incapable of knowing or of doing; the fact that we can see Jesus is what makes everything OK. In seeing Jesus, through the lens of faith as Paul would say in 2 Corinthians 5:7, a Christian may retain their hope and steadily become more aware of the will of God in his or her life.
This idea of “seeing Jesus” being crucial as Christians raises a significant question: What is it that we see Jesus doing? After all, it is not much help to look to someone as an example if all they ever do is sit around. Jesus must be doing something that is worth seeing for our vision of Him to be so impactful. The next couple of verses describe in part what Jesus has already done in describing certain attributes of His earthly ministry. Beginning in verse 11, however, is a depiction of what Jesus can be seen doing today: “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.’” When we see Jesus, we see One Who is not ashamed of us. Despite all of our faults and sins that caused the suffering described in verse 10, He is willing to gladly accept us and to declare our names before the Father.
To use the Hebrew writer’s expression, “Now this is the main point of the things we are saying[.]” (Hebrews 8:1) How is it that we achieve Christlikeness? If that is our ultimate goal, what are we to do that we may be seen as those who are like Jesus? The answer is given to us here. We have to be unashamed. Dr. Mark Blackwelder has said recently in a sermon discussing 1 John 3, “God knew exactly what He was doing for us as His children in providing for us an Older Brother.” Jesus has declared us as His brethren and continues to declare the faithful before the Father without shame. He is our example, the One Whom we follow, and He is our Brother and Example from God. May we never be ashamed of Him.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” ~ Romans 1:16