A Wandering Heart | Hebrews 1:1-4:13
Jesus is the ultimate prophet who in his very being “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (1:3) who can rekindle A Wandering Heart, deceived by the allure of sin and hardened by challenging circumstances in life (3:7-12). Though we are prone to listen to everything but God’s voice, we are rightly warned that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” able to expose “the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (4:12).
The Work of Christ | Hebrews 4:14-10
The Work of Christ is revealed in priestly imagery to emphasize the necessity and sufficiency of his “once-for-all” (9:12; 10:10) sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is the merciful high priest who is able “to sympathize with our weaknesses” (4:15) for in his incarnation he was “made like his brothers in every respect” (2:17) and “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (4:15). His blood shed for us gives us boldness and confidence to “draw near to the throne of grace” (4:16) through praise and prayer.
Our Story of Faith | Hebrews 11-13
Jesus is the true king, “seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:2) who is able to weave the doubt, discouragement, and disillusionment we experience in a broken world into Our Story of Faith, as we join the “cloud of [faithful] witnesses” (12:1a), “stir[ring] up one another to love and good works” (10:24) and “striving” for peace and holiness (12:14) as we “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (12:b) in joyful expectation and hope that Jesus will one day soon return to usher in a “kingdom that cannot be shaken” (12:27).
BEHIND THE BOOK
When they were new in their faith, the “Hebrews” confidently followed Jesus through the pain of ridicule, alienation, and even loss of home (10:32-34). But days, months, and years have passed since those “former days” (10:32; cf. 6:10) when their faith was that vibrant. Some have grown weary from the constant struggle of living out their Christian faith in an increasingly hostile culture. They have heard and spoken the words “Jesus is Lord,” but the fact of their present circumstances is making this confession seem more like fantasy.
This pastor, an old friend, who had been a leader in their community in those early days, has been apart from them for sometime, but remained in contact. He delivers—via letter—this sermon (13:34, “a word of exhortation”) with heartfelt concern regarding the reports of spiritual indifference and apathy that he has received about them. He speaks with an urgent yet hopeful tone, knowing that they have been wrestling with the cost of commitment to Christ, wondering if it’s worth it anymore.
Into their doubt, discouragement, and disillusionment, this pastor challenges them to open their ears to God’s Old Testament promises that have found their fulfillment in Jesus. In the midst of their suffering, he encourages them with the truth that their Creator God has fully entered into their struggle in Jesus, a great high priest and king, who can sympathize with their situation as he took on humanity, yet can lead them through their situation as the one who offered himself as a fully sufficient offering for sin. In light of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, they can draw near to God the Father boldly and confidently, persevering through pain and persecution with a renewed confidence and a faith issuing in works of love and service.