The Last Word

Have you ever known someone who just had to get the last word in every argument? Infuriating, isn’t it?? You know that they aren’t doing it because they necessarily think they are right all the time … no indeed, they do it out of a stubbornness to simply be the final and unimpeachable word on a subject.

But not all last words are annoying. Some last words are life-giving. Take, for example, God’s last word to humanity: Jesus. Yes, Jesus is the final Word from God about how humanity will be saved. This Word is life-giving and unimpeachable, and fulfills all the words that came before him:

Hebrews 2 (Common English Bible)

1 In the past, God spoke through the prophets to our ancestors in many times and many ways. In these final days, though, he spoke to us through a Son. God made his Son the heir of everything and created the world through him. The Son is the light of God’s glory and the imprint of God’s being. He maintains everything with his powerful message. After he carried out the cleansing of people from their sins, he sat down at the right side of the highest majesty. And the Son became so much greater than the other messengers, such as angels, that he received a more important title than theirs.

I always chuckle when I read this passage from Hebrews. It takes me back to a class I took in seminary called ”Survey of the Bible.” It was a Bible introduction class, and the curriculum was focused on getting us to learn the entire scope of the scriptures. We were tested on the meaning, theme, content, and writers of all 66 books. I was glad for the years I had spent in Disciple Bible Study, which did the same thing at a much slower pace. One of my memory tricks for remembering the theme of Hebrews was ”HE is Better than the REst, Without Substitute.” That helped me put Hebrews into context with the other New Testament writings, and it really does explain the writer’s perspective:

God didn’t put the world that is coming (the world we are talking about) under the angels’ control. Instead, someone declared somewhere,

What is humanity that you think about them?
        Or what are the human beings that you care about them?
For a while you made them lower than angels.
        You crowned the human beings with glory and honor.
        You put everything under their control.

When he puts everything under their control, he doesn’t leave anything out of control. But right now, we don’t see everything under their control yet. However, we do see the one who was made lower in order than the angels for a little while—it’s Jesus! He’s the one who is now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of his death. He suffered death so that he could taste death for everyone through God’s grace.

The good news for Christ followers in this passage is that we worship the One who is able to make us holy and redeemed. Burnt offerings, sacrifices made at the altar, ”The Universe” … nothing else can accomplish what Jesus did when he died and rose again. He is the power of salvation, delivered as the final Word of God.

Qualified to be a high priest

10 It was appropriate for God, for whom and through whom everything exists, to use experiences of suffering to make perfect the pioneer of salvation. This salvation belongs to many sons and daughters whom he’s leading to glory. 11 This is because the one who makes people holy and the people who are being made holy all come from one source. That is why Jesus isn’t ashamed to call them brothers and sisters when he says,

12 I will publicly announce your name to my brothers and sisters.
        I will praise you in the middle of the assembly.

Jesus invites us to become part of his kingdom and follow him. We are heirs of God and brothers and sisters of the last Word. Will you listen?

He really is better than the rest, without substitute.

No Substitute by Michelle Robertson