Hebrews 2:1-4 – NT
If the central theme of yesterday’s post on Deut 1 was ignore -> disobey -> suffer, Jesus elucidates the positive corollary in today’s passage:
Listen -> Believe -> Live
Here we have Jesus making a clear claim to divinity. He equates Himself with the Father, saying that both of Them give life and that honor is due to both the Son and the Father. As Chesterton and Lewis so often point out, this is not the behavior of a ‘good moral teacher.’ Chesterton challenges the claim of people who see Jesus as a virtuous man by pointing out that the greater a man is, the less likely he is to claim to be God. Lewis expands this into his three options for interpreting Jesus based on who He claimed to be: liar, lunatic, Lord.
One interesting note I caught while reading this passage is the tacit role that the Word plays, particularly in verse 24:
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
This is John, remember, who makes a clear connection between Jesus and the Word. What Jesus is talking about here is receiving and submitting to the Word of God. If Jesus is the Word, we are receiving and submitting to Him.
This underlies why both Judaism and Christianity are text-based faiths. God has revealed Himself to us largely in the form of the spoken and written record, of both deeds and conversations. His Truth is information that is passed through communicative language.
Jesus us calling us to hear, to listen, to receive the Word, to receive Him. Having received Him, we are to believe in Him, to be faithful, both in the sense of trusting and of committing. In this way, we have eternal life and can avoid the punishment inherent in disobedience.