Earlier in the Book of Hebrews, the author quotes Psalm 102 when he writes, “But You remain the same, and Your years will never end.” There in Psalm 102 it goes on to say that everything as we know it will eventually wear out like clothing, be discarded and perish…except the Lord, for He will continue unchanged to all eternity. I don’t know about you, but the last few months have seemed like a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, so the quiet comfort and security of placing my trust in a everlasting Savior quiets my soul and gives me peace and hope.
It’s almost like the Writer of Hebrews is looking around at the wickedness in the world at that time and lamenting…”Yet at present we do not see everything subject to Him.” And sadly, we could say the same thing today as we survey the evilness and rebellion in our world. Jesus Christ has supreme power and rule and there will come a day when He takes His rightful seat of authority over this broken world. For submission to authority is either compulsory or voluntary…demanded or deliberate. And on that day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. There will be no insubordination or willfulness…no pride or arrogance…for the world will see Jesus in all His glory, and there will be silence.
King Josiah had ordered repair of the Temple…and during the work they came upon a lost book of the Law, (Deuteronomy). When read, the King ordered its requirements observed and then took active steps to clean up the mess in the Temple. In this Scripture, he ordered the priests and doorkeepers to round up all the foreign idols that had somehow wormed their way into the Temple. For the Godly and ungodly had been co-existing for so long… it was now considered acceptable. When false teaching infiltrates the Church it always does it in a subtle, indirect, and devious way…suggesting it’s just fine to accept.
Jesus used His own saliva several times in the Bible to heal. In John 9:6 it says, “Having said this, He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.” In Mark 8:23 it says, “He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’ ” So why did Jesus do this very primal act? We know that Jesus was fully man but also fully God…and within His saliva was His DNA. DNA that held His chromosomes…His genetic information. But the spit Jesus smeared on these men held something much more powerful… it held within it the very essence of God.
The shepherds had just experienced the greatest light show ever…more sensational than the biggest fireworks display…more glorious than anything the world had ever seen. Mixed with their awe and wonder was excitement…they had just been told about the coming Messiah. No wonder they all agreed to, “go to Bethlehem and see this thing,(Rhema) the Lord has told us about.” They had been given God’s Word…the Greek word is Rhema…and their enthusiasm was infectious. And after they had found the Christ child, their elation didn’t wane, for in Luke 2:17 it tells us that, ” When they had seen Him, they spread the Word ( Rhema) concerning what they had been told about this child.” These plain, ordinary men were the very first missionaries, spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. They had no Theological degrees or advanced education… God’s Word had touched them and couldn’t contain their elation. They were compelled to tell others just as we should be. For the greatest story ever told is the one they spread…a Savior has been born to you; He is Jesus Christ the Lord.
The world started scoffing at the notion of Jesus being resurrected from the very start. The Roman guards who were watching His tomb and the High Priests cooked up a story about Jesus’ disciples stealing His body and spread the lie far and wide. (Matthew 28:12-15) Over the course of history, the world has gleefully questioned and ridiculed Believers with, “Where is this coming He promised?” (II Peter 3:4) The world would like us to doubt and question our beliefs about the second coming, but we need to stand strong against those who malign the name of Jesus.
The Lord is saying, “Be ready!” Come out of that spiritual stupor and complacency you’re in. For you have been lulled into a false sense of security by your apathy towards God. Telling yourself that you’ll get right with God when you’re old, or when you’re done sowing your wild oats is risky business…for all we know, you may not live to see the sunrise tomorrow. Jesus said it best in Luke 12:40, “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Today is the day of repentance… and a new moral reorientation of your soul.
Felix, the Governor of Judea, was well acquainted with the “Way”…in fact he was even married to a Jewess named Drusilla. So as he listened to Paul speak about faith in Jesus Christ, conviction hit a little too close to home. Conviction by the Holy Spirit is an intense persuasion…a laying bare of our personal sin, and the realization of the judgment to come if we don’t repent. Paul saw this force at work by the Holy Spirit first hand and later wrote to the Thessalonians, “Because our Gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” (I Thessalonians 1:5) Never underestimate the power of conviction by the Holy Spirit…for it is unrelenting and able to reach where no human words can.
Imagine being in the crowd around Jesus and seeing people being healed and set free…but yet refusing to acknowledge His divinity, showing no confidence in His power, and doubting the promise of eternal life. No wonder Jesus placed such emphasis on the sin of unbelief. Unbelief blinds our minds and causes our heart to become calloused. This lack of faith can hinder even the most righteous Believer at times…but just like the sick child’s father in Mark 9:24, we too can ask Jesus to,” Help me overcome my unbelief.”
This comes from the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector that Jesus taught to a group of self-righteous, haughty people. It says in verse 10 that both men went up to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee pushed his way up to the front of the crowd in order to be seen and heard by everyone, and once there, proceeded to pray loudly and arrogantly…basically telling God how lucky He was to have him. On the other hand, the Tax Collector stood way back in the courtyard, daring not to even look up to heaven, but rather beating his breast and whispering, “God have mercy on me.” In Jeremiah 31:19 it says, “After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understanding, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.” The road from self-deception to self-awareness requires acknowledgement…admitting I’m just as sinful as those around me and not one bit more righteous.