The Book of Hebrews was written to the Jews to help them understand how Jesus fulfilled the law so they would recognize Jesus for who he was and accept his authority. It was difficult for the Jews, and sometimes even for us, to grasp that Jesus was the Son of God. It would have been dangerous for these Jews to be seen as Christ-followers, so this book will also serve to empower them with truth. We may find even today the temptation to fall away from our faith.
As we’ve been reading different texts to help us understand who Jesus is, this one encourages us to want a relationship with Jesus. He is certainly someone I want to associate with. I like this quote from Aaron Rogers, quarterback of my team (Green Bay Packers). “Surround yourself with really good people. I think that’s an important thing. Because the people you surround yourself are a reflection of you.” Don’t we want the world to see Jesus reflected in us?
The letter to the new Jewish believers is coming to an end. As we close any letter, sermon, book, etc., there is usually a summation of what the important take-aways should be. This letter does a beautiful job of that. The author is giving them (and us) a workable set of guidelines to follow. I never like to think about my faith and behavior in terms of “expectations” or “rules,” but I do like to know what pleases God.
Just like in marketing, we don’t sell the drug, we sell the cure. We focus on what the benefits are, what problems need a solution. Here, the new believers need the clarity of who they are following and what that looks like. We know our lives are transformed when we meet Jesus, but often times we don’t know how to act and don’t want to fall back into our wicked ways. Continue reading “Hebrews 13:15-25 – Parting Wisdom”
There is a lot of symbolism in today’s reading I probably missed the first couple times I read through this text. For some of us, understanding Jewish tradition is not something we have spent a lot of time doing. I wonder when Christians stopped observing Jewish traditions? Granted, not all early Christians were Jewish, but a lot of them were. The book of Hebrews has been written to them to help them in coming to grips with their new belief. How can you juggle two different traditions? I’m sure this book/letter was very helpful to them.
Many more Jews thought these “Christians” were crazy to believe Jesus was the Messiah. I am sure the new believers took quite a beating (maybe even literally) for this. Even today, there are traditional Jews who are upset with those who call themselves Jews yet believe Jesus is the Messiah. Yet many others don’t even know what a Messianic Jew is (one who believes Jesus is God’s son). And of ones I’ve seen randomly asked, they don’t really care what other people think. The Jewish religion historically has not been a missionary movement. By contrast, as Christians, we are called to tell the world about Jesus and his love. Continue reading “Hebrews 13:10-14 – Outside the Gate”
Fear can be crippling. What are your fears? What comes to mind for me are the obvious fears like spiders, heights and confined spaces. We aren’t born with these fears, but somehow they creep in over the course of time. Since moving to Mexico I have really come to grips with my fear of spiders. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one scurrying around (yes, they are VERY fast here, and VERY big). You’ve heard people say the way to conquer your fear is to face it.
Aside from these “common” fears, we all have fears that are deeper inside us. They limit us from our true happiness or potential. I’ve learned more and more about these fears, also known as “limiting beliefs.” We all have them. Maybe we believe we aren’t good enough or don’t deserve happiness. Maybe we believe we are too old or too young to do this or that. These beliefs are based on fear. What does the Bible say? Continue reading “Hebrews 13:6-9 – Kick Fear in the Butt”
I hope we all know the most important thing is to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Beyond that, this passage reminds us of others who should receive our affection as well. As our author closes this letter, he wants to remind us all of what should be obvious but often forgotten.
Love one another. That can sometimes be hard. Especially loving those who are hard to love. We all had someone come to mind just now. Maybe it’s the crotchety neighbor or the busybody at church or the obnoxious, loud-mouth co-worker. We are brothers and sisters after all, and we should love each other as family. Love as Jesus loves. Continue reading “Hebrews 13:1-5 – Be a Better Lover”