Jesus, Our King
Introduction: What an odd title ("Jesus, Our King") for a lesson on Hebrews, when Hebrews never calls Jesus King! The word "king" only appears in Hebrews 7, and it is talking about someone else. Have you ever heard the expression "If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it must be a duck?" Let's continue with our study of Hebrews 1 which describes Jesus in the same terms you would use to describe a king.
- Jesus' Scepter
- Read Hebrews 1:8. We pick up where we left off last week in Hebrews 1. Who, again, is the being described as the Son? (Jesus.)
- Who is the speaker here? ( Hebrews 1:5 - God the Father.)
- What does God the Father call Jesus in verse 8? (He calls Him God. This again bolsters the doctrine of the Trinity. God the Father calls Jesus "God [the Son].")
- How long will Jesus be God? (Verse 8 tells us that Jesus' throne lasts forever.)
- Re-read Hebrews 1:8 and add verse 9. Verse 8 refers to a scepter. What is a "scepter?" (This is a rod - a symbol of the power of the king. If you think back to the story of Esther, when she approached the king without an invitation, her life depended upon the king extending his scepter to her. Esther 4:11.)
- Would someone who is not a king have a scepter? (No, they would have just a stick because their stick carries no authority.)
- Jesus' scepter is righteousness according to verse 8. Explain to me how righteousness is the power of Jesus' kingdom? (Remember in our overview of the book of Hebrews last week, that we learned that Jesus' current work in heaven is His ministry as our High Priest? The righteousness that comes from His perfect life and death is the power of His kingdom that most concerns us. This is the power that allows us eternal life together with Jesus.)
- Read Psalms 45:6-7. It appears that the writer of Hebrews was quoting from Psalms when he wrote Hebrews 1:8-9. Why did Hebrews change the Psalms description of Jesus' scepter from "justice" to "righteousness?" (Jesus fulfilled the requirement of the law when He died in our place so that we could have His righteousness. This is beyond justice from our point of view. Because Jesus was willing to suffer what justice required, we have righteousness. That is why at the stage where Jesus is our High Priest in heaven, His "power" is righteousness. He has satisfied justice, so that we can have righteousness.)
- Hebrews 1:9 tells us that Jesus "hated" wickedness. Is hatred part of justice and righteousness? Often when you read the comments of a homosexual activist, you find observant Christians described as "haters." Is hatred the proper attitude towards sin?
- What if we just disdain sin?
- What if sin attracts us, but we resist?
- Are we required to hate sin? Should that be our goal? (I think we need to take a hard line attitude towards sin for our own sake as well as those around us. M.L. Andreasen, in his book on Hebrews, comments on this verse by saying that until we come to the point where we hate sin we "cannot be said to be safe.... The man who hankers after sin, who finds it alluring or interesting, has not yet attained to Christ's standard. He must learn to hate sin as well as to love righteousness.")
- Our King, when He was on earth, was considered "soft" on sinners. See Matthew 9:10-11. How can you reconcile the statement in Hebrews that Jesus hates sin and Jesus' practice of hanging around with sinners? (If you hate something, you want to destroy it. Jesus' ministry on earth (and our ministry) is to persuade, not coerce people into the kingdom. The only way to destroy the sin in sinners is to befriend and engage them in discussions about truth. Yelling at strangers is not a good tool for persuading them to your view. When was the last time a stranger yelled an insult at you, and you said, "You know, that person is right!")
- Jesus' Servants
- Let's go back to Hebrews 1:6-7. Read. Would a king have servants? Followers? Does Jesus, the King, have servants? (Yes, the angels are His servants.)
- Notice how the angels are described: "winds" and "flames of fire." Why do you think angels are described that way?
- Read Psalms 104:4. What does this say about the angels? (Putting Psalms and Hebrews together clarifies that the angels are the messenger "winds.")
- What does this suggest about the writer of Hebrews? (This is another example of how he had his mind on Psalms when he was writing.)
- Compare Hebrews 1:8 with 1:7. Winds and fire that come and go versus the throne of Jesus that lasts forever. Why does the writer of Hebrews give us that contrast? What point is he making? (There are several possibilities. First, "wind" gives us the idea of speed of movement. The angels are fast messengers. "Fire" gives us the idea of power or enthusiasm. It could be saying the angels are fast, enthusiastic servants. Second, the word "wind" can be translated "spirit." This may just be telling us that angels are servant spirits. Third, we see the contrast between Jesus, the King on the substantial, permanent throne, and the angels, who are a bundle of activity.)
- King of the Earth
- Read Hebrews 1:10-12. We just read a comparison between Jesus and the angels. We now see a comparison between Jesus and what? (His creation.)
- What is the future for the creation? (It will wear out. After that, it will be changed.)
- What is the point of comparing Jesus and the creation? (First, it bolsters the idea that Jesus is King. A king has authority. In our case the authority comes in part because He is our Creator. Second, the text again stresses the idea of the permanence of Jesus' kingdom. The earth as we know it will change, but Jesus' kingdom will not.)
- Read Hebrews 1:13. What is the answer to this question?
- Read Psalms 110:1. Again we see that the writer of Hebrews has his mind on Psalms. What point is David making in Psalms? (That his Lord sits at the right hand of God the Father who controls all enemies.)
- How does that help your attitude in time of trouble? (It lets you know that the outcome of your problems is not in doubt. Your King has conquered all of the "enemies.")
- Friend, Jesus is our King. Not only does He have real authority, an eternal throne, and real servants, but He comes to us with the power of His righteousness. Will you choose to serve Him today? Will you accept His righteousness on your behalf? If you do, you become allied with the King whose reign is eternal!
- Next week: Jesus, One of Us.