Hebrews 13: 1-25. The final chapter of Hebrews is very practical and everything that is to be perused in life flows out of this starting point: “Keep on loving each other” (13:1). When we are able to do that, having responded to Christ’s love for us, we will be welcoming to all, compassionate towards those […]
How are you approaching 2021?
No doubt we are carrying a variety of emotions, thoughts, feelings, disappointments, etc., that are all set against the backdrop of last year. 2020 is the strangest year that we’ve lived through. Perhaps we’re tempted to look back to the start of last year when everything felt better and start again. We can’t wind the clock back, so instead, how hope-filled are we able to be as we look ahead?
At the start of a new year we often focus on new beginnings and we make plans to give us things to look forward to. Yet, there is a great deal about the first part of 2021 that we’re really not sure about at all. We know that we’ll have to persevere with some restrictions, but we don’t know for how long. How does that help or hinder us in our longing for a sense of hopefulness, anticipation and excitement?
The letter to the Hebrews was written to a group of people who had once been bound by the religious rules and regulations that their Jewish heritage had given to them. They then found a new freedom and hope through coming to faith in Jesus, yet, as time went on, they had begun to look back and wonder whether what they had before was better, despite its enforced restrictions.
They’d tried what for them was this new-fangled Christianity , but now their focus was beginning to drift. Their hearts of worship were waning, and they were in danger of losing sight of the truth that Jesus is above all things. They needed to be reminded that being followers of Jesus wasn’t just an alternative for their old way of doing things. They needed to be reminded that what they perceived as this new alternative way of living as followers of Jesus wasn’t just another option on a list of choices they could make, but it was the better way – more than that – it was the superior way – more than that – it was the only way!
As we work through the letter to the Hebrews together, we will see the majesty and supremacy of Jesus. Through His own sacrificial way of living, we will see the fullness of all that the Lord has given to us through Jesus. All of our hope is in Jesus – He is above all things.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews spends over two thirds of their time carefully explaining why these claims and truths about Jesus hold true (chapters 1-10), and then the letter turns to our response (chapters 11-13).
So how will we respond? Will we be the ones still looking back to what we’ve known before, wondering if regardless of whatever we may have been through, that that was actually better than living as followers of Jesus?
Or are we open and ready to see the beauty, majesty and supremacy of living fully as followers of Jesus? The world around us may still restrict us at times, and we may well still go through times of disappointment, but our certain hope is in Jesus, and our lives of faith stand firmly on Him alone because Jesus is above all things.
The latter sections of Hebrews will also point us towards Christ’s redeeming work on our behalf as He gave His life for us on the cross. That will enable us to approach our Easter celebrations more fully and with hearts and minds deeply committed to be followers of Jesus as He calls us together as His church to proclaim the gospel to all people in all places.
“May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen!” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Hebrews 12: 1 – 29. There is no better way to persevere in faith as followers of Jesus than to respond to and live by this encouragement: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (12:2). From encouragement to persevere in faith, the writer of Hebrews adds an exhortation […]
Hebrews 10:19 to 11:40. We are now just over two thirds of the way through the letter to the Hebrews, and so far, all of the attention has rightly been on Jesus. Now, as the letter begins to come to a close, the attention turns to the response that the Hebrews need to make, and […]
Hebrews 8:1 to 10:18. Continuing to expand on the “better covenant”, it is Jesus as the great High Priest who is now described as the only one to be called the “mediator [of a new covenant which is] superior to the old one” (8:6). It is in chapter 9 that we’re moved towards our Easter […]
Hebrews 6:13 to 7:28. If by this point the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews still needed further convincing, the writer turns once again to the Old Testament. The focus this time is on the fulfilment of God’s covenant promise to Abraham, another of the Hebrews’ much revered ancestors. They too are “heirs of […]
Hebrews 5:11 to 6:12. It is clear from the second half of chapter 5 and into chapter 6 that the writer of the letter to the Hebrews would have expected them to have got further than they have in their understanding of who Jesus is. They are still reliant on others to teach them the […]
Hebrews 4:14 to 5:10. Against the background of their firm understanding of the role of the Priest as the one to bring sacrifices to God on their behalf, the Hebrews are now to understand the place of Jesus as above all Priests – Jesus is “the great high Priest” above all others (4:14). And so […]
Hebrews 3:1 to 4:13. Claiming that Jesus is superior to the angels would have been a big enough thing for the recipients of this letter to get their minds around, but now they need to add to that: how can Jesus be above their great leader, Moses? Moses is commended in this section of the […]
Hebrews 2: 1-18. With hearts and minds turned to be focused on the supremacy of Jesus, chapter 2 gives us a clear and straightforward warning to “pay more careful attention to what we have heard” (2:1). This is the first of 5 warnings in the letter to the Hebrews, and this one takes us back […]
Hebrews 1: 4-14. “To most Jews angels were exalted beings, especially revered because they were involved with giving the law at Sinai to the Jews” (NIV Study Bible). They were the ones to whom “God’s supreme revelation” had been given, but now the attention grabbing claim that they need to grapple with is that Jesus […]