The preacher loses no time to get to the point:
- Christ is eternal and creator of the Universe, and he’s now the voice of God to us (vv1-2)
- Don’t mistake Christ for an angel. He is God made visible. (vv3-4)
- God the Father testifies that Christ is God. (vv 5-14)
1-2: It is the Father who speaks through Christ. And this Christ isn’t just a mere human. He is the Son of God, completely unique, creator of everything, owner of everything.
The weight of these verses is that the author wraps up the entire Old Testament and all the prophets and puts them inside of Christ’s message and life, as if the Christ is both the content and the wrapping of the OT message. The “but” in v. 2 works as a paradigm shift, a clear sign that after Christ, nothing is the same any more.
3-4: If there is any doubt about the sonship of Christ and what that really means, these verses make it completely clear that Jesus is God made visible. There has been nothing similar in history, where God enters the world in His completeness and makes Himself so tangible, approachable, understandable to us.
5-14: These verses are dediceted to illustrate/strengthen/legitimize the statement that Jesus is God Incarnated in vv 3-4. Maybe the church battled with their belief in Christ. Maybe some people thought Christ was just another angel. Whatever the doubts, v.8 is there to make a clear statement, even God who spoke through the prophets says of Christ “Your throne, oh God…”
The author wastes no time to make a firm, undeniable, unambiguous definition that echoes throughout the chapters: Christ is what you get when the invisible, eternal, omnipotent God takes up flesh to dwell among us. It is this Christ that is the author and owner of everything. It is Christ that is the sum of all prophets that ever raised their voice saying “Thus says the Lord”.
In context of the entire epistle, Chapter 1 shakes up the listener/reader with the “but” in v. 1 as if the listener needs a wake-up slap so that all those tempting/troublesome thoughts about life as a Christian, life in church would fall off, so that we can now look at Christ alone.
This focus on Christ, God in flesh, is where we ought to start when battling with personal or church issues. When we get this clear, that it is God himself that we follow, problems don’t look so big any more. Temptations aren’t so irresistible. Doubt, exhaustion, lethargy… they get insignificant in light of the fact of who Christ is.
So what you’ll ask? What has that to do with us today? Well, with the breakup in my church while I was away at theology school, things weren’t easy to go through. I’ve lost confidence in the Church and for a long time didn’t want to have anything to do with organized religion because I experienced it as institionalized hypocrisy. But it was this clear understanding of who Christ is that helped me go through the mess which lasted for 7 years. So I’ve used this approach for 7 years. It works. All you need to do is just keep your eyes on Jesus.