For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” Hebrews 1, verses 5-6
There is comfort in knowing some of the intricacies of faith that contribute to its rich history.
These first two verses do some heavy hitting in the early church. The Gospels tie Jesus and His lineage to the Jewish Patriarchs (Luke takes it all the way back to God Himself through Adam), but these verses in Hebrews tie Jesus directly to God the Father through the Psalms. That matters.
According to the NIV, Psalm 2 is heavily messianic; I encourage you to read it. In it, the Lord speaks to His people in song saying both “you are my Son” and “you are my son in the line of King David.” Remember that Jewish men were instructed in the synagogues on the Torah and the Psalms. The Psalms were hymns they sung, poetic verses they memorized and carried all their lives. Psalm 2 is traditionally credited to King David as the writer. Thus, a tie to Psalm 2 is one that early churchgoers would have easily understood and absorbed, especially since the author then ties it to (what were at the time) contemporary eyewitness accounts from Matthew and John, as well as the (then) contemporary writings of Paul to the church in Colosse.
As if that wasn’t enough, the reference from 2 Samuel (which is the story of King David), then also ties Jesus directly to King David. Of David, the book said “you will be my son” who would be punished on behalf of the people for wrongdoings. As Jesus was a direct descendant from David – something that may not have been fully understood at the time Hebrews was written – the author is, thus, tying the Son of God to the revered royal lineage of Israel’s most famous warrior king.
Pretty heavy indeed. Here’s a bit more heaviness for you: so what?
I mean, so what? What does this matter to us today? Jesus and David have been dead for thousands of years, many centuries. Why does that matter?
It’s been over 200 years yet people are still quoting Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. It has been decades and we’re still quoting John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Ronald Reagan. If for only historic reasons, it matters that, centuries ago, ancient writers used (already) ancient texts to tie Jesus of Nazareth – someone of their own time and day – to Jewish tradition and royal lineage. Doing so helps us today understand the religious, social and even political impacts that the new Christian faith was having on the world at the time. That helps us to better understand how things came to be.
Yet move beyond that to matters of your own heart in the here and now. Your faith is a supernatural thing. Having faith in this Jesus is highly illogical, something that the world dismisses because it requires putting trust in something you can neither see nor feel. Yet you can sense it. You can sense the very real peace and clarity that come from expressing faith in Jesus Christ. You can’t touch it, but you can know it’s real.
Even though this is so, you and I still experience moments of questioning. It’s natural; it isn’t abnormal; it isn’t even condemned by Jesus, who restored Thomas’ faith after logical doubts threatened to cloud his continued belief. Having occasional questions or doubt doesn’t make you un-Christian: it makes you a normal person. It is growing that doubt into dereliction of faith, rejecting God, that is a sin, not occasionally questioning or doubting His purpose or movement in our lives. Even Jesus doubted, screaming “My God why have You forsaken me” as He was dying on the cross. In moments of question and doubt, it helps to know there are corroborating proofs, independent evidence, supporting what you believe. It helps to know there were other people who did the same, men like King David and the author of Hebrews, who sang both praises and mourning through the Psalms, as expressions of the faith they had in God.
For more reading: Psalm 2:7, Matthew 3:17, 2 Samuel 7:14, John 3:16, Colossians 1:18, Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 97:7.
My God, thank You for weaving these intricate histories into my faith in You. Thank You for the deep proofs, then subtle meanings, that come with believing in You as my only Savior.