“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. 4 This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.” – Hebrews 1:1-4
One of the challenges of this past season is the ways our ability to connect with each other has been challenged. When time passes without being able to connect with a person it’s easy to be unsure of what they’re thinking or feeling. We can drift into unreliable impressions, misinterpretations, or wrong ideas about them or about our relationship.
The same is true of our relationship with God. God doesn’t want us to feel distant from Him. We can find ourselves wondering, “What’s God thinking?” We can drift into unreliable thoughts or feelings about God and His thoughts toward us. The best way to avoid this is to look at the plain simple truth of what God has already said. It will help us to consider the ways in which God has communicated to us through Jesus Christ.
This is possible when we recognize that God has spoken through Jesus.
We are going to read through the New Testament book, “Hebrews”, and look at who Jesus is, how Jesus brings rest, and how we should respond. This Sunday series will help our daily reading of Hebrews and our discussions, over October 30th through November 16th.
1. Who’s writing to whom?
This letter is written about 35 years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The earliest copies we have date back to about 100 years after it was first written.
Anonymous (possibly on purpose, during a time of persecution and violence) open letter written to Jewish followers of Jesus Christ. They were being pressured to return to the customs of the Jewish religion and leave the Way of Jesus. They were people who found spiritual strength from their relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. They had found new community through their intentional relationships with each other in local churches that were also connected with their fellow churches abroad. It’s a matter of being connected with something bigger than an individual life, not getting lost, but finding greater fulfillment in this Kingdom of God.
There was a lot of tension. They needed to hear from God.
“The author was probably a well-educated second-generation Greek-speaking Jewish Christian, thoroughly versed in the Septuagint, familiar with Greek philosophy, and at home both in Roman rhetorical techniques and Jewish interpretative traditions.” – N. T. Wright
2. What’s going on with the people who are first reading this?
readers facing persecution, loss of reputation, and confiscation of property
“33 Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. 34 You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.” – Hebrews 10:33-34
They needed to hear from God.
What did they hear from God through Jesus?
1. With loving grace, God sent His Son Jesus Christ for the salvation of our souls.
2. We learn about the glory, power, and characteristics of God through the life and characteristics of the faithful, patient, kind, loving Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 1:1-4 – Jesus Christ is God’s Son.
1. Who Jesus is
2. How Jesus brings rest
3. How we should respond
October 31 Hebrews – Jesus the Son of God Hebrews 1:1-4 (reading Oct 30 – Nov 6 Heb 7:28)
November 7 Hebrews – Trailblazer Hebrews 2:10, 12:2 (reading Heb 8 – 11:40 Nov 13)
November 14 Hebrews – Rest Hebrews 4:9-11 (reading Heb 12 – end Nov 16)
November 21 Hebrews – Faithful Hebrews 12:1-3
“The letter points out that Israel’s scriptures were always looking ahead to something yet to come: a new covenant, a new type of priesthood, a new altar, a better sacrifice, a city to which the present Jerusalem would only be an advance signpost. We could summarize Hebrews this way: the scriptures had always pointed ahead to a something new and better, and it has now arrived in Jesus.” – N. T. Wright
How should we respond?
1. Receive the love of Jesus.
2. Become a Jesus follower.
3. Join in the reading.
4. Listen for God’s perspective and your response.
5. Participate in the discussions.
6. Bring someone along.