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He has spoken (29 Dec 2002) PM

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He has spoken …

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven

                                                                Hebrews 1 v 2

Of all the words that our Saviour used we could occupy ourselves for months of study; considering what He said, measuring the weight of His utterances and listening again and again to familiar phrases and profound teaching.  But this evening I want you to consider the UNSPOKEN UTTERANCES OF CHRIST from this verse in Hebrews.

Yes – that is something of a paradox. Yet, following hard upon Christmas it should be easier for us to tap the great spiritual reserves suggested by the phrase “by His Son”. For that is surely the emphasis of these majestic opening words of my personal favourite in New Testament epistles: that God who spoke in so many and such different ways down through the ages has (finally) spoken to us in these last days by A SON.

Notice that the author does not refer to any of our Lord’s words even though he had so many to choose from.

Rather he tells us about this wonderful Person and he focuses on GOD’S WORDS in Psalm 2 v 7

“YOU ARE MY SON…”

I suggest to you that there is enough of God’s utterance to us in CHRIST’S VERY BEING to make us hear, even in silence the very Word of God.

Like John’s Gospel’s opening statements the emphasis is upon His TRANSCENDENT MAJESTY

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…”

and John’s great phrases are like those of Hebrews – focussing upon His CREATIVE WORK and HIS REVEALING WORK

“In Him was life, and the that life was the light of men…”

“God has spoken unto us by (A) Son…”

There is enough – indeed more than enough – in the very Person of our Lord as He enters our human world and takes upon Him the form of an infant.

Consider – in the birth narratives with which we have been pre-occupied these last days – the UNSPOKEN UTTERANCES OF CHRIST AT HIS BIRTH:

    To Mary

    To the shepherds

    To the magi

        and

    To Simeon (reminding ourselves of our meditation on Christmas day)

    To us?

To not one of those did our Lord in His infancy speak audibly – and yet, as Hebrews so beautifully puts it, God spoke through a Son.

1.  To Mary

God, who had spoken by prophets about this birth, spoke to Mary by angels. But He also spoke to her in the most profound way by His physical presence – by His infant humility and utter dependence – by simply BEING  a Son.

We skirt around the mother of our Lord with deference and some embarrassment. We know the way in which the passing of time and the layers of traditions have given her a status she does not deserve. But we should pause at Bethlehem ourselves and consider the impact of that incarnation upon Mary.  

I cannot imagine the thoughts of this most privileged woman. She felt that baby grow within her; move within her own body and then held Him in her arms – He who Himself had held the very planets in their courses – lay in her lap.

How did He speak to her.  That the visitors contributed seems obvious – for Luke records it:

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

                                                                        Luke 2 16-19

But most eloquent among all of these things was the most obvious and most compelling word of all – that the Son of God should take upon Him human form and surrender the glory of heaven for the utter dependence of an infant.

Christ by highest heav’n adored,
Christ the everlasting Lord:
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Immanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the newborn King.’

3     Hail the heav’n born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
‘Glory to the newborn King.’

This is God’s word, God’s very word in the silence and in a new born’s cry

Begging the question: Why?

So that WE might know Him,

So that OUR weakness by be transformed by HIM

So that OUR SINS might be carried by HIM

I cannot imagine how she felt – but I am sure she did!  To hold in her arms the creator of the universe.   God has spoken by a Son.

2.  To Shepherds

Again – in this narrative the spoken words are mainly those of the angels, but the greatest, most significant utterance is in HIS PRESENCE

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christa the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”                           LUKE 2

Rough country folk, used to being present at the birth of sheep and goats, who speak first of going to see

“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

But these shepherds are transformed into the world’s first human evangelists by a baby all wrapped up.

How did He speak to them?

In the seeing – and what did they see?

You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,

A baby all wrapped up … what was there to see?  Just a small face – wizened and newborn – nothing but a human child…

“Like Martha’s boy…”

“Like me…”

A tiny face:  just a face…

 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”a made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

                                                        2 Corinthians 4 v 6

3.  The wise men

These had come furthest, and possibly with the greatest considered expectations, and by way of a diversion at Jerusalem they turned up at the house in Bethlehem.

And perhaps by that time the infant Christ was old enough to make sounds more than crying – but it is not His spoken word that addresses them.

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

Of course they had been prepared – so had Mary, and the shepherds – but God spoke to them by a Son.

It was the PERSON they came to visit – the one who is born King of the Jews.

Mysteriously and silently God had spoken to them before – but now in His presence there is a speech more eloquent than voice, more significant than star, more telling than any prophet quoted in Jerusalem.

“and they bowed down and worshipped Him”

We make much of their gifts – but the most telling response is that of WORSHIP

Yes – He deserves      gold

                                frankincense

                                myrrh

For He is “the Son of God”

God has spoken unto us by a Son

4.  Simeon

What was Simeon’s greatest moment?  Why of course, as we reflected on Christmas Day – to hold the prince of Glory in his own arms.

An older man – not from the fields or sheep – but waiting patiently for the realisation of the greatest dream and the greatest fulfilment of God’s promise.

God had promised – and He kept His promise silently.

He spoke to Simeon “by a Son”

And what does he hold?

        The fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies

        The fulfilment of the Spirit’s word

        The fulfilment of a PERSONAL promise

And Simeon is able to react in words – to respond to what God says in His Son:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you now dismiss your servant in peace.

30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31      which you have prepared in the sight of all people,

32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles

and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:

“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Oh Lord, thank you!

This is Him!

I can go in peace now!

God has spoken by His Son

5.  To us

Set aside all the words of the Saviour for a moment – and come aside to Bethlehem and to Jerusalem in the first days after His birth. What does God say to us?

Hebrews reflects in those marvellous words:

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven

He has spoken unto US by his Son

    in all the glory of His pre-existent majesty “whom he appointed heir of all         things and through whom he made the universe”

    He is the radiance of the God’s glory

    the exact representation of His being

    sustaining all things by his powerful word

    after he had provided purification for sins

    he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

To Mary – God’s Son – my baby

To shepherds – the baby wrapped up – to you a Saviour

To wise men – priest and sacrifice

To Simeon - the promised Messiah – my peace

To us -  The Son of God – whose work of salvation finished is sat down…

“GOD HAS SPOKEN UNTO US BY HIS SON”

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