A Sermon Series on the Book of Hebrews
Peter Adam begins his short and very helpful book on Hebrews (The Majestic Son. Reading Hebrews Today) with the question, ‘Why read Hebrews?’ Other than, ‘it’s in the Bible’, you might think this is a very good
Hebrews isn’t an easy book to read or understand. It contains many quotes and references from the Old Testament and talks more than any other book of the New Testament about the Old Testament sacrificial system, which seems distant and unfamiliar to
most of us. Melchizedek, who appears elsewhere in the Bible only in Genesis 14 and Psalm 110, pops up multiple times in Hebrews. It’s the only book of the New Testament that refers to Jesus as our high priest. And there are several warning passages sprinkled through the book that seem harsh and difficult to understand.
As well as some challenging content, we’re also not entirely sure who wrote the book of Hebrews, to whom it was written, where it was written from or when it was written! As you can imagine, all of the commentaries discuss these questions
with much delight and multiple theories.
The flip side of all of this intrigue is that Hebrews has something unique to offer if we’re willing to take the challenge! The writer characterises his book as a ‘word of
exhortation’ (13:22). His purpose seems to be to encourage those to whom he is writing to persevere in the faith. He urges his readers to fix their thoughts on Jesus, to pay attention to what they’ve heard so they don’t drift away, to hold to their original conviction to the very end, to understand the great salvation that is theirs through Jesus, their great high priest, and to have confidence in what Jesus has achieved for them.
The dangers of distraction from our faith, drifting away from Jesus and even deliberate disobedience are there for all of us. Perhaps for this reason, Hebrews is essential reading.
But to put it more positively, Hebrews also offers a panoramic view of the sweep of salvation history. It lifts our eyes from our particular moment in history and gives us a sense of belonging to something much bigger than ourselves. It locates Jesus firmly as the fulfilment of the sacrificial system of the Old Covenant. And it
uses the word ‘better’ more than any other book of the New Testament, around the theme that ‘God had planned something better for us’ (11:40). Our prayer for this series is that God will indeed give us a strong sense of the ‘greater’ salvation that is ours through Jesus, our great high priest, so that each of us will persevere to the end!
Our sermon series on Hebrews will take us from the beginning of March through to the end of April. We will also be providing Connect Group studies on Hebrews for this time, as well as a Lenten Journal that guides us through daily readings from Hebrews 1 – 11 together with reflections to help our reading. Please do make the most
of the Lenten Journal. It provides a wonderful opportunity to plunge deeply into Hebrews rather than skate over the surface with just a Sunday sermon each week. As we read in Hebrews 4:12, ‘the word of God is alive and active’! Let’s take the challenge of letting God’s word do its work in our lives.
Assistant Minister – Kew