After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:3-4, ESV)
This writer is still introducing his topic for this letter/tractate and admonishment of this congregation tempted to return to their former understanding of how Jews should live in covenant with God before Jesus’ claim to have come as the expected bridegroom for his bride, his people. He has introduced the theme of Jesus’ supreme character as revealer, suggesting that Jesus’ revelation supersedes all others and therefore must be listened to and obeyed.
Now he mentions Jesus’ purification for sins accomplished by his sacrificial death on the Roman cross of execution. But he emphasizes what happened after Jesus made purification, that he sat down at God’s right hand. This suggests two things that should startle the readers and us, if we are tempted to return to our former way of life. One, his authority is equal to God’s. He is God’s right hand ruler. His word is God the Father’s word. None supersede him, so he must be obeyed. Two, sitting suggests a finished work. He’ll later highlight the fact that there was no chair in the Tabernacle, no rest for the priest, who could never finally finish offering sacrifices because those sacrifices never really purified sin like Jesus’ sacrifice has. He gets to sit because his work is finished. You can’t go back to that which was incomplete.
We probably have already is some ways found ourselves “going back” from our faith in Christ. I find myself slipping into life as routine over and over. I forget there has been a battle raging and that I’m a participant in it on God’s side and nothing is routine about that. I forget that every situation in my life is an opportunity to experience God’s leadership in my life and to bear witness to His presence in my life. I want to take a break, go back, so to speak, from the adventure of living the new reality created for me by my Savior. It doesn’t always feel like an adventure because I’m too often depending on my own resources to accomplish it.
Strangely, Jesus’ sitting down is the basis for his increased activity in expanding his kingdom and the basis for my enjoying his energy at work in and through me in that same endeavor. Stephen Curtis Chapman’s wonderful song, The Great Adventure, should become more and more autobiographical for us:
Saddle up your horses, we’ve got a trail to blaze, Through the wild blue yonder of God’s amazing grace. Let’s follow our leader into the glorious unknown. This is a life like no other, whoa, whoa, this is the great adventure. We’ll travel long, over mountains so high, We’ll go through valleys so low. Still through it all we’ll find that This is the greatest journey that the human heart will ever see. The love of God will take us far beyond our wildest dreams
If you want to, you can listen to the whole thing here. Get back on that horse, that steed of magnificent beauty and power. Why walk when you can ride?