Friday, December 5, 2008

A new study (Hebrews Chapters 1 and 2)

For a while know I have found myself wanting to REALLY dig into the book of Hebrews. I don't know why other than it being a God prompted thing... which is a good enough reason. I have been taking notes and decided I would just do this study and share what I find with you all.

A little history on this book for those that are not familiar with it:

It is not known for sure who is the author of this book. It was written for the Hebrew Christians that were beginning to struggle with an urge to return to their old belief of Judaism. The Author attempts to plead a logical case for who Jesus is though using what the people knew... Old Testament Scripture. Throughout the book he quotes it over and over again.

As I read through these chapters I am drawn to and find myself loving the logical approach that the author takes. I am reminded that as Christians we need to approach non believers where they are and help them see the truth. This book had an impact because the author connected with the readers through things they were familiar with. We can not expect a non believer to connect with what we are saying if we are quoting a lot of scripture at first. Connect with people where they are and then look for ways to bring in the scripture so that is will be relevant in the life of the non believer.

I would love for anyone interested to grab a bible and read the chapters. I am also very open to any comments or corrections in my line of thinking. I am human and prone to mistakes. :o)

Okay, here we go!

In Chapter 1 the first thing the Author does is establish Jesus' presence from the beginning. It establishes his power and authority. The verses in this chapter help to shed more light on the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. The author does this through the use of old testament quotes. The author takes great care to separate who Jesus is and who the angels are, and the role that each one is to play. In fact, the references to Angels and their lack of authority is made several times and this leads me to wonder why the author felt it was so necessary to make sure this was understood by the people. The logical part of my brain wonders if perhaps the people were focusing more on (and looking for) the angelic messengers of the old testament and focusing less on the savior of the new testament. This is, however, just a speculation on my part and I have nothing to back with up.

As I transitioned form Chapter 1 into Chapter 2 the first verse struck me and I was amazed by it's simplicity and wisdom all in one.

"So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it." Such a powerful warning! We should all take it to heart.

As you read farther into chapter 2 the author, again, appeals to the logic of the reader. He speaks of the messages Angels delivered in both the old and new testament and the price of ignoring the messages. Acts of Disobedience were punished. A prime example that comes to mind is Abraham. The angel told him Sarah would have the child, however Sarah and Abraham were impatient and took matters into their own hands. Their disobedience brought about the birth of a nation that would defy the true God and bread hate against Believers.

The people the author was writing to were familiar with these moments in the past when disobedience had led to punishment or even death. Once again he appeals to their logic. Look at Vs 4. The author says (in a nut shell) What makes us think that we can escape death if we just decide to ignore Jesus and the gift of Salvation? As I read that verse, so many people came to mind that I know and love but they are ignoring Christ. Denying Jesus did what he did will not save you from death in the end. Powerful stuff!

I loved what the author did next though. He presence an equation of sorts. First he, once again, removes Angels from the equation before he even starts. He explains that they have no power to control the future of this world or the next. Then he builds this equation:

Man + Jesus = Glory, Honor, Authority, and Life

With Jesus in the equation He, being the High Priest before God, opens the way for us to receive Glory, Honor, Authority and ultimately LIFE. Remove Jesus from the equation:

Man + Nothing = Man

The Glory, Honor, Authority, and life are there ONLY because of the sacrifice Jesus made. What Sacrifice? Look at Vs. 14-18. Jesus sacrifice did not begin on the cross. It began when he became flesh and blood. Jesus Sacrifice began with his birth and ended with his death.

As if this is not enough for the author to prove he then takes things one step further. He explains that Jesus sacrifice doesn't stop with giving us a way to salvation/heaven. What Jesus went through makes him the perfect leader and the perfect help for us in our times of testing. This is a reminder to the readers that Jesus did not come to just give us life but Life more abundantly. It is a reminder to have a relationship with Christ. It seems silly to have the "perfect leader" right there with you and refuse to ask his direction and help.

I look forward to reading into the book of Hebrews more. I hope this helps to encourage you in your walk with Christ.

Have a blessed day.