The Layman's Bible

Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation

That Actually Happened

The writer of the book of Hebrews takes a few strange liberties in his book which attribute far more than one would expect to Christ. For example, he quotes Psalm 110:4, which is,

The Lord has sworn
And will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
In the order of Melchizedek.”

But he’s not quoting it as something from David (who wrote the song); rather, he’s applying it to God speaking about Jesus. Check it out:

And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:

“The Lord has sworn
And will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.’”

Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant (Hebrews 7:20-22).

Then, after making the quote, the writer explains that between this one line from a psalm and Abraham’s meeting with the roaming proto-priest named Melchizedek that Jesus is a special high priest; thus allowing him to hold a priestly position without being from the tribe of Levi (the only tribe allowed to be priests). Another liberty taken by the writer is that of putting words in Jesus’ mouth. Check this out:

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
But a body you prepared for me;
With burned offerings and sin offerings
You were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am- it is written about me in the scroll-
I have come to do your will, O God’” (Hebrews 10:5-7).

Oh really? Because I could swear (as could my NIV Bible’s notes) that it wasn’t Jesus who said that, but David in Psalms 40:6-8,

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
But my ears you have pierced;
Burnt offerings and sin offerings
You did not require.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come-
It is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, O my God;
Your law is within my heart.”

Yeah, this “quote” from Jesus is actually not even from the gospels, or even conveniently made up; it’s actually something taken from the Old Testament and applied to the Lord. When I read this my response was, “Dude, you can’t just pick psalms and stick them in Jesus’ mouth!”

It was at this moment, though, that the Holy Spirit spoke up, “Um…that actually happened.”

“Scripture!” I demanded, filled with self-righteous arrogance.

Of course the Holy Spirit already knew I was going to request some Scriptural confirmation, and so he reminded me of a sermon I had heard a couple of days earlier on Luke 4. He reminded me that Jesus actually did claim to be the one written in the scroll- like as in he actually said that.

Jesus had gone back to his home area and was preaching. Let’s take a look at the scene,

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
Because he has anointed me
To preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
And recovery of sight for the blind,
To release the oppressed,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:16-21).

That Actually Happened (Jesus with Scroll)Jesus took a scroll, pulled out some verses, and said, “Hey, that’s me.” Not only did Christ affirm what was written in Hebrews, he did in the same style as the Hebrews writer! Indeed the writer of Hebrews was right; that really did happen.

So what is the lesson the writer wants us to know from this passage? He continues,

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all (Hebrews 10:8-10).

Talking about the Covenant of the Law versus the Covenant of Grace, the writer puts forward that Jesus offered himself as the sacrifice through his death on a cross in order to fulfill the Law’s requirements while also making the new covenant. In the new covenant, those who are saved through belief in Christ and his death will watch as Jesus fulfills the Lord’s will for their lives. And what is that will? Scripture tells us of Christ Jesus,

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim freedom for the captives
And release from darkness for the prisoners,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
And the day of vengeance of our God,
To comfort all who mourn
And provide for those who grieve in Zion-
To bestow on them a crown of beauty
Instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness
Instead of mourning,
And a garment of praise
Instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
A planting of the Lord
For the display of his splendor (Isaiah 61:1-3).

Jesus brings good news, healing, freedom, joy, and the Lord’s favor on all those who call on him and believe in his sacrifice for them. You too can have that favor in your life, because Jesus apparently said so.


One comment on “That Actually Happened

  1. borkwei
    August 1, 2015


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This entry was posted on August 1, 2015 by in Bible Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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