Hebrews 2 – Angels

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The writer of Hebrews talks about angels more than any other book in the Bible except for the book of Revelation.  This is a topic that is highly interesting and often gripping to people, especially in Western Culture (North America and Europe) where the notion of a spiritual realm that impacts the physical has been highly dismissed by many.

However, the reality of a spiritual realm that both impacts and often times shapes the world around us is a reality that the Bible both addresses and assumes is true.  There are, according to Scripture, beings that we know as angels who are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation,” as the writer points out here.  What their exact work is, though, we may not be so clear on.

Scripture also addresses the other side of the Spiritual realm, that of Satan and his demons and the evil that he brings to this world.  We know that this is a reality that we come up against all the time as well.  The enemy is always working to thwart the plans of God and to deter, detract, discourage, and derail God and His work in the world through the Church.  Paul points this out in his letter to the church in Ephesus:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

There is a really important point that the writer of Hebrews is trying to make here, however, which is that, as real as angels are, they are not the ones that bring salvation, Jesus is.  Jesus Christ is infinitely more important than the angels, and all creatures in heaven and on earth are under his reign.  So as fun as angels can be to talk about, and we should talk about them, it is much more important to keep our eyes focused on the one who brings salvation to the whole world.



Mark 5 – Recognize

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There seems to be an increase in the recognition of the spiritual realm and its influence and impact on our lives in today’s culture.  As we move out of the age of modernity, marked by the attainment of knowledge, scientific advancement, and the need for concrete evidence for proof, culture has seen a much wider acceptance of a reality that is both coinciding with ours and also beyond our vision and understanding.  This truth, however, is not one that took Jesus by surprise.

I am struck by the recognition that takes place from different characters in this narrative.  The demons see Jesus and instantly recognize who He is and are aware of what His presence means for them.  Jesus is quite aware of them too.  Whether or not the man they possess knows Jesus is uncertain, but what we do know is it took much more than human strength to bring him healing.  Yet the reaction of the people in that region is puzzlingly similar to that of the demons, both want to get away from Jesus.  Why, after such healing had taken place, would the people be fearful to the point of sending Jesus away?

Sometimes I wonder if people are actually afraid of healing, afraid of the light.  When we are confronted with our sin, and shown the way toward healing, it can be uncomfortable… even scary.  Our current way of living may not be the best, but it’s certainly familiar.  This is a constant theme in the Old Testament.  Israel complains everytime the going gets rough, wanting to go back to Egypt because at least they knew what to expect.

I wonder if our churches today engage in these same reactions, settling for the safe and familiar rather than the abundant healing Jesus offers us?