The two most comprehensive Epistles in the New Testament are Romans and Hebrews. Romans explains Christianity and its Jewish roots to a gentile audience. Hebrews explains to Jewish believers how Judaism was not set aside by Jesus but fulfilled by Him. While it would forever be changed, it was neither diminished nor irrelevant. Rather, just as the New Covenant promised through Jeremiah and Ezekiel amended (without negating) the first covenant. Living as believers in Jesus as the Messiah brought about a change in their relationship with the Law and the practice of Judaism.
The author shows how Jesus was superior to the angles (Chapters 1-2), Moses (Chapters 3-4) and the existing priesthood (Chapters 5-7). At the end of each section he gives them a warning in light of each truth. Then he shows how Jesus fulfilled the law by providing the ultimate sacrifice for sin (Chapters 7-10). Finally, we are called to live a life of faith receiving God’s discipline as a means of our sanctification (Chapters 11-13). Each of these two sections also contains a warning against failing to live in the light of His truth.
Superior to Angles: Whereas God had in the past communicated with man through his messengers – both angelic and human, He now was giving His most important message through the words and life of His Son (1:1-5). Therefore, He warns us not to “drift away” from what Jesus said. Because, “how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation” (2:1-4)?
Superior to Moses: Jesus brings a superior message and so God says that He is “worthy of more glory than Moses” (3:3). Therefore we are warned to not “fall away from the living God” through disbelief (3:12-15).If we do we will fail to enter into His rest (eternity with Him) in the same way that the generation that came out of Egypt failed to enter the Promised Land (4:1-7).
Superior to Priests: Jesus is a priest (mediator between God and men) not after the order of Aaron, but of Melchizedek. Melchizedek was both priest and King and so Jesus is our Priest and King (7:1). He is both our mediator and the authority whom we are obligated to obey. Therefore we are warned that having “once been enlightened” not to “fall away” because “it is impossible to renew again to repentance” (6:4-8). There is not another way back to God if we reject Jesus.
Final Sacrifice: Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial system by dying once for “the sins of many” (9:28) so daily sacrifices would no longer be necessary. If we reject what Jesus did and engage in “willful sin” we “trample under foot” the sacrifice of Jesus and insult “the spirit of grace” and there is no sacrifice to atone for us (10:26-31).
Life of Faith: We are called to live by faith and many examples are given for us to follow. We are not promised that it will be a life of ease, only a life supported by God’s love (12:1-3).
Note: These articles are going to vary slightly from the weekly readings. They will address all the content but the chapters discussed will be grouped in a different manner. For Daily Readings go to: thebibleproject.com. Listen Sunday Mornings: KJLP 88.9 FM at 8 am or KATB 89.3 FM at 9:30 am