The Preacher shifts our thinking here about Jesus. While Jesus is still all the wonderful things he was lauded for in the first chapter, we see how Jesus’ humanity stripped him of the full expression of that momentarily. Some people will ask, if Jesus was God, why did he let himself be killed? Others may say, how can God die?
Why the cross? That seems like the next question. Such a brutal way to die.“[B]ecause he suffered death for us, he is now ‘crowned with glory and honor.’ Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.” Jesus has gone before us. He not only experienced what it was like to live as a human, but also to die as one. Yet when Jesus died, he conquered death!
Have you ever seen an angel? I used to love the show, “Touched by an Angel.” “Highway to Heaven” was another favorite back in the day. Those are just cheesy television, but the message was always uplifting, a “feel good” kind of show. But my picture of angels has been influenced by those kinds of examples. We uncover a lot more of the mystery surrounding angels in this reading.
Here, the writer is quick to distinguish a hierarchy between angels and God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The focus on Christ’s superiority continues. Words like throne and justice are powerful and signify importance. Jesus is Lord, creator, and God. God himself calls Jesus out as God, “Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you,” There is nobody greater than Jesus. Angels may have an audience with God, but their authority and power is not equal to Jesus.
As I read of the destruction, I tried to picture how long it must have taken to demolish the temple and all the other structures described. I felt sad. The history alone of this great building was extensive. I couldn’t help but remember King David’s vision for this magnificent tribute to God, and then his son, Solomon’s call to build. You can read more about David’s thought process in 2 Samuel 7.
Gone. All the grandeur was lost forever. I had forgotten the extent of the bronze and the magnitude of the size. Do you think the people remaining in Judah mourned the loss of this great place? It doesn’t sound like they put up much of a fight. The army just came in like a big wrecking ball as if to demolish the past. And God allowed it to happen! What would the exiles already in Babylon think when they heard the news?
God loves these people despite the fact they turn on him so blatantly! I feel sorry for Jeremiah being caught up in the flight from Judah to Egypt. I keep hoping that he is one of the ones who’ll get away and be able to return to Judah, escaping the death and suffering his people will encounter because of their choice to continue with the idols.
What were these people thinking? What was it about idol worship that was so attractive? Maybe it was easy and helped them “fit in” with their neighbors. How could they disrespect God on purpose? Can you sense Jeremiah’s own hostility toward his fellow Judeans? This will be Jeremiah’s last address to the rebellious Jews in Egypt.
The life of the prophet Jeremiah has had some very unpleasant moments. Of course, we are privy to only a portion of what he experienced. But today’s circumstance was certainly the “pits.” I recall using that word regularly to describe all the unpleasant things a teenager might encounter. It’s been decades since I used that little phrase. Certainly, Jeremiah had to be glad that his time in the “pits” didn’t end in death!
This was an interesting interlude of the unfolding drama of Jeremiah’s imprisonment. Jeremiah has had a rough road. Now the king’s officials want him dead because his message hurts the morale of the fighting men and people left behind. Heaven forbid! It’s one thing if morale is being affected by negative talk, but Jeremiah’s prophecies, while not at all “pleasant,” sounded God’s warning and promise of hope for the redeemed.