“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son,…” ESV Hebrews 1:1-2
My friend Jim Elliff out in Kansas City says, “Churches should not be designed to showcase leaders.” As I thought about his statement, I began to think of churches that do seem to be designed to showcase their leaders; particularly pastors. Though it seems the height of arrogance, it happens nonetheless. Then I began to think of all the other things we showcase in our churches; the music, the lighting, the gymnasium or lack thereof, the food, the fellowship, the building and grounds, even our own children! All the while, the church should showcase Jesus Christ.
When I read the first several chapters of Hebrews, I’m always impressed with the way the author showcases Christ. Rather than “showcasing,” I like to think of it as making much of Christ. Hebrews certainly does makes much of Christ and it is arguably the duty of each and every Christian to make much of Christ; not just our churches.
As the book begins, we are reminded that in times past, before Christ, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets. How did he do that? Think for a moment of all the different ways God communicated with his prophets of old.
Moses found himself communicating with God through a burning bush, a cloud and even a pillar of fire. Samuel heard an audible voice in the night. Jacob wrestled with God in the night. Joseph had dreams. Isaiah had a magnificent vision, as did Daniel. Balaam even got a revelation from the mouth of his donkey!
And how about signs and wonders? Think of how God revealed himself through signs and wonders in the Old Testament. The angel of death passed over the Hebrews and set the stage for their exit from Egypt—a pretty significant revelation to my mind. The Red Sea parted for the Hebrews yet it swallowed up Pharaoh’s army. In the wilderness, manna and quail mysteriously appeared in the night.
What about the epic battles of old? Every victory the Hebrews ever knew was won from a position of weakness. Goliath was slain by a young boy armed with a slingshot. Joshua and the armies of Israel prevailed so long as Moses arms were raised to the Lord. The walls of Jericho fell with a shout. The examples of God revealing himself in times of old seem endless.
Yet, says the writer of Hebrews in verse two, in these last days, something grander has taken place. God’s revelation in the Old Testament pales in comparison to the revelation in these last days. In these last days, God has spoken to us to us through his Son!