- July 23, 2008
• Hebrews 1:1-6,10-14; 2:1-4
Have you ever wondered why a lion tamer uses a stool? Is the trainer really going to stop the lion with that stool? Nope. The reason is that the big cat’s vision does not allow him to focus on more than one thing at a time. The stool has four legs and thus four points to distract the lion. It keeps the cat busy trying to focus while the trainer is working with other lions.
The ability to stay focused is the key to success—in sports, in school, in business, and in life. If we focus on too many things – like the lion – we get distracted and can’t focus on the life that God would have us live. Focus is important in the Christian life. Jesus said it this way: “If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light” and “No one can be a slave to two masters” (Matt. 6:22,24).
So what does it mean to have a focused life if you claim to follow Christ? Primarily it means that we are to focus our lives on the life that Jesus lived in order to find the pattern for living a life that pleases God. Today’s lesson will help your learners understand the reasons we ought to focus on Jesus and help them take specific steps to keep their focus on Jesus. Because Jesus is the perfect, most complete revelation of God, we need to focus on Him.
Jesus is worthy of our attention (Heb. 1:1-3)
God has spoken ultimately, completely, and fully in Jesus. Jesus is the perfect, most complete revelation of God. Because Jesus is perfect in his example for us, he is the beginning point for focusing our lives. What’s more, his perfection is a revelation of the nature and character of God – the same God that we are called to imitate in all our dealings and relationships.
There is no need to look beyond Jesus for any greater revelation. He is the ultimate and best and having redeemed us from our sin, he becomes the channel through which we can experience fellowship with God the Father. Sometimes we make the mistake of putting the Bible on the same level as Jesus in terms of revelation, but this lesson is a good opportunity to remind your learners that Jesus is the one and only lens through which we should read scripture. Scripture only becomes a revelation when it is understand from the perspective of one who sees Jesus as the savior of the world – and the perfect revelation of God to the world.
Jesus Is Superior (Heb. 1:4-6,10-14)
This portion of scripture is replete with Old Testament quotes. Ask your learners to consider why the writer would go to such lengths to report what the Old Testament passages are saying? One might conclude that these quotes are designed to show that Jesus is superior to the angels, and that as God’s Son, he is unchanging and has authority of the whole of creation.
• Ask your learners to identify the things that distract them from focusing on following Jesus in their lives. They might mention work, sickness, recreation, television, and so forth. After a time of sharing, ask them to describe why Jesus is superior to all those distractions.
• Ask your learners to share sources of spiritual authority in their lives. They might mention certain authors, pastors, or other church leaders. Remind them that the greatest spiritual authority is Jesus himself and that while those other authorities might be credible, they are not infallible. Believers should weigh out the teachings of those whom they grant spiritual authority as well as making sure that the greatest authority for living the Christian life is granted to Jesus.
The Consequences of Neglect (Heb. 2:1-4)
Because of Jesus’ superiority, believers need to pay attention to Jesus. Ignoring him or neglecting to follow him after the great gift of our salvation can lead to some serious spiritual problems. This means that we cannot be content to simply hear Jesus, we must also obey Jesus with our lives.
The recipients of this letter were not ones who’d rejected Jesus, they were ones who had been ignoring him or neglecting their spiritual formation under him after coming to faith. Who among us has not experienced this? We have a significant spiritual awakening – either at our salvation, or perhaps during a retreat or revival – only to later find that our fervor and excitement have diminished.
• Believers need to pay attention to Jesus because ignoring Him leads to serious spiritual problems. Ask your learners to identify a time when they felt themselves “slipping away” from their relationship with God. What happened to “bring them back?”
• Ask your learners to ponder this: Which is more difficult: “Staying devoted to God” or “Coming back to God?”
• Consider singing the words to Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. The lyrics describe well the “prone to wander” nature of Christians, as well as the journey back to God.
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