Jesus Christ is Superior to the Angels

“I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things” (Revelation 22:8).

Angels are terrifying beings. They are nothing like the cute and cuddly babies with wings that Renaissance art depicts.

They are terrifyingly glorious, and they are terrifyingly powerful. They are truly fearsome creatures.

In fact, they are so fearsome that they frequently have to announce their arrival with “Fear not,” lest the mere mortals they are appearing to fall down dead in terror. 

The angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel with a message, and Daniel was so terrified that he fell on his face in fear (see Dan 8:16-17).

Even the apostle John, who walked and talked and lived with Jesus for 3 years fell down to worship at the feet of an angel. Little wonder, then, that we humans should be tempted to worship and exalt them. 

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Is Jesus Really God?

John 5:18 tells us that “… the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him (Jesus), because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

What a wild claim! Equal with God! What sort of arrogance does it take to claim equality with God? No wonder the Jews – fiercely protective of the ‘oneness’ of God – wanted to shut Jesus up.

Every good Jew knew that God is one – and only one. The verse sometimes known as the ‘Sh’ma’ says it plainly; “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” [Deut 6:4].

There had been plenty in the past who had the audacity to claim to be what they were not – prophets, messiahs, saviours of the people. And each one ended in disappointment at best, captivity and slaughter at worst.

In fact, this desire to be like God goes back a long way. Back to the Garden of Eden, in fact, where the devil enticed Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit with the promise “… when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” [Gen 3:5].

So, for another to come along declaring Himself to not only be the Messiah, but claiming to be equal to God Himself was just going too far for them.

Jesus’ claim that He is God in the flesh is, then, an audacious claim. And it’s a claim that led to His execution as a heretic, a blasphemer, executed like a common criminal.

But in John 5, Jesus not only stands by His claim before His accusers, He ‘ups the ante’ by making more claims to prove His Godhood.

And each claim enraged the religious leaders more.

So, what are some of those claims?

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How Will You Respond To Jesus?

What a fascinating contrast the apostle John provides for us between all the various character in his gospel. He shows us a real mixed bag of people, from all different walks of society.

Rich and poor, respected and outcast, family member and stranger, working class and ruling class, illiterate and educated, friend and enemy.

Each person different from the other in background, experience, nationality, social standing, education, popularity. Truly, Jesus comes for everyone.

But we also see a mixed bag of reactions to Jesus too.

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Exalting Christ

“Christ first, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence – Motto for 1902.”

So reads a small framed panel we have in our entry hall, rescued years ago from an antiques store. Someone – who lives on only in memories and faded photographs and in this inscription – wanted a daily reminder of the supremacy of Jesus Christ.

The author of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament writes with a similar thought in mind. So Mike reminded us yesterday as he began a new series looking at this important letter.

Hebrews was written to encourage Christians in a time of trial – a time when the pressure and temptation to abandon their faith seemed almost overwhelming.

That may just make it the perfect medicine for Christians today in the face of the global Coronavirus pandemic and the associated fallout.

So, the author begins the letter by establishing the supremacy – the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ – for his audience.

But why not start with encouraging words like “God loves you and has a plan for your life” or something similar? Why talk about such ethereal things as the nature of Jesus Christ, and His power in creating and sustaining the universe?

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Do You Want to be Healed?

“Do you want to be healed?”, Jesus asked the paralysed man laying by the Pool of Bethesda in John 5:1-16. 

At first glance, it would seem to be a strange question to ask a man who has been paralysed for 38 years. “Are you blind? Can’t you see my condition? Of course I want to be healed!”

But the answer isn’t always thot obvious.

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