‘We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.’ – Hebrews 2 1From Dave Atkinson:
Who, or what, do you pay the best attention to? Maybe it is a particular TV programme, a sport or hobby, the teacher of your favourite subject, the squirrel digging up your lawn, the traffic as you cross the road?
I remember years ago that I always paid careful attention to my driving instructor who used to hit me on the back of the hand (hard) with the handle of a screwdriver if my driving performance indicated that I hadn’t been paying attention to what he was saying!
At the beginning of chapter 2, the writer to the Hebrews tells us not just to pay attention, but that we must pay the most careful attention to what we have heard. What is it that is so important that he gives us such an emphatic command? The “therefore” in the middle of the verse is the signpost that the answer is found in the previous verses – the whole of chapter 1 in fact. And the answer is not a what, it is a person – Jesus.
Hebrews 1 declares that Jesus is the final, the definitive, Word of God. All that God has to say to us is founded in Jesus, everything points to Jesus, the answer to all our needs is in Jesus. How? Why? Because: Jesus is the Son of God and the heir of all things (verse 2); Jesus made the world (verse 2); Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s character (verse 3); Jesus sustains everything by the power of his word (verse 3); Jesus saves us by his purification for sins (verse 3); Jesus sits at the right hand of God (verse 3), angels worship Jesus (verse 6); Jesus is the mighty God and King (verse 8).
When it is laid out this way, I say to myself, “well of course I’m going to pay attention to Jesus – why wouldn’t I? There is nothing and no one that comes anywhere close. Do I really need to be commanded to pay close attention to Jesus?”
And yet every day, as chapter 2.1 warns, I am in danger of drifting away from Jesus; paying closer attention to other people or things – relying on them, trusting in them, being influenced by them – rather than Jesus. When I do that, I miss out on the blessings of knowing Jesus. Or, as the writer goes on to say in chapter 2, I ignore or undervalue the salvation Jesus has won for us.
My driving instructor knew the importance of my paying attention so that I didn’t drift off course.
Listening, knowing, following, worshipping and witnessing for Jesus is of eternal importance – we must do this with the most careful attention.