Tag Archives: revelation

God’s Word and the Pastor’s Authority (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Pastor, why should anyone listen to your words? What is the basis of your authority? The answer is both simple and demanding: people should listen to your words to the extent that your words express the word of God.

I have been too busy to blog for a month now, which doesn’t sit well with me at all! But (a) this too shall pass, God willing, after we are settled properly into our Atlanta house, and (b) I can’t help sharing a little nugget this morning.

First, a happy random note: I’m sitting here in our new kitchen as I blog. In the past five minutes, right here in our own backyard, I have seen both a great blue heron and a hawk! Much nicer than the baby snake (harmless variety) I found in our basement yesterday morning. The wrens nesting in our basement will need to be removed after this season, too, despite the cheer they bring. Truly we are moving to an urban jungle!

Back to God’s word and ours. I have just begun reading Gareth Lee Cockerill’s recent Hebrews commentary as part of my morning Bible time. I’m really liking his insights and assessments so far.


Here is the passage from his commentary introduction that provoked this little post today. Enjoy!

The pastor’s authority rests on the gospel message (2:1-4) that he holds in common with his hearers and on the persuasive quality of his exegesis.

I’ll interrupt briefly to say “Read that again!” When Cockerill says “pastor,” he is describing the author of Hebrews. But his words are equally valid for pastors today! Back to the quote:

Heb 1:1-4 enunciates the fundamental principles that underlie his interpretation of the OT. First, the God who “spoke” through the OT has now “spoken” in one who is Son. The inclusion of the OT under the rubric of “the prophets” (1:1) indicates that it anticipated God’s ultimate self-revelation. Thus this final word in the Son is both continuous with, and the fulfillment of, all that God said before the Son assumed humanity. Second, to the continuity of the divine Speaker one must add the continuity of the human recipients. Those to whom God spoke through the prophets were the “fathers” of those he addresses in his Son (1:1-2). God’s people have always consisted of those who hear, embrace, and persevere in the word of God. Both those who live before and after Christ have received the same call, the same promise, the same “gospel,” and are on pilgrimage to the same heavenly “city,” which all the faithful will obtain through Christ. There is one God and one people of God.

This firm confidence in the continuity of the divine speaker and of the human addressees underlies the pastor’s sense of the immediacy of God’s word. Thus it is no surprise that he prefers OT passages that are in the form of direct address and that he introduces them with verbs denoting speech rather than with “it is written.” What God has said in the past is of more than antiquarian interest. God “speaks” to his people in the present both by the words that he spoke to his people of old (Heb 3:7–4:11; 10:36-39) and by his conversations with his Son concerning the Son’s incarnation and exaltation (1:1-14; 2:11-13; 7:1-28); 10:5-10). God’s final revelation embraces more than what the Son has said. God’s final revelation is found in the fully adequate Savior he has become through his incarnation, obedience, self-offering, and session. The work of the Son enables God’s people to grasp his previous revelation more clearly and obey it more diligently. (Pp. 43-45)

Nearly every sentence there deserves meditation, helping us think more clearly about topics as varied as preaching, biblical interpretation, monotheism, and the identity of the people of God. God bless you as you listen to, obey, and proclaim the word of God today!

Share your insights in the comments below. Thanks!

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Infinitude [Poem by Mom]

Have you been following the story of NASA’s mission to Pluto? A spacecraft named New Horizons that left earth on January 19, 2006 just reached Pluto this month. Scientists are eagerly devouring new images and data from this ninth rock from the sun. As one writer put it, the trickle of data “has been enough to completely overthrow our theories of what we expected to find at the icy little world and its family of moons.” New information is leading to new questions faster than you can say “To be or not to be a planet? That is the question.”

Pluto. Image taken 2015-07-13 20:17:35 UTC. Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.

Something similar happens as we grow in our knowledge of God. Please don’t misunderstand me: God is indeed the supreme “Self-Revelator,” as Mom writes in the poem below. We can indeed know him and his ways meaningfully. And we are fully responsible for that knowledge. But we will never know him completely. And that is good. To imagine otherwise is folly.

Here is Mom’s poem for the month. Read and worship.


The farther the telescopes search through the blackness,
The vaster the universe left to explore.
Space endlessly stretches, star-studded and trackless,
As much as we fathom, there always is more.

We dissect life’s building blocks, minute, invisible,
Peer with a microscope, ponder and probe.
Still vainly we seek for the one indivisible—
Particles spinning, each atom a globe.

The longer we gaze at the matchless Creator,
The greater the vistas awaiting our view—
The incomprehensible Self-Revelator
Whose mercies and mysteries each morning are new.

We love Him, the intimate Friend of our spirit,
His rays undetected by human device,
His being unfathomed although we’re so near it:
To know Him—eternity will not suffice.

—Elaine Gingrich, April 1986

For the rest of the poems in this monthly series, see here.

And if you enjoyed this poem, leave a comment here for Mom, or send her an email at MomsEmailAddressImage.php.  Thanks!

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