{Hebrews} I Have a High Priest

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Just a quick tidbit from last week’s Hebrews study to close off this good weekend…

After defining the term “priest”, my homework posed the question, “Do you think believers today need a priest? Explain your answer.”

“Yes we do, but we have One! We cannot come before God without someone to intercede on our behalf. Since we have sinned, someone must make a sacrifice for those sins so that we can come to God. God provided a High Priest in Jesus, Who paid the sacrifice for our sins once for all.”

Not profound in articulation, nor a complete explanation of the Great Exchange by any means, but I’m glad I had to write a simple answer to a simple question, because it struck me for the hundredth time how incredible it is that Jesus was qualified to make ONE atoning sacrifice that forever covers me…and that He did so!

“For God the just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me.”

No compromising of justice, no ignoring of evil…but I have a High Priest who took care of my sin…all of it…permanently. Praise the Lord!

{Hebrews} He Never Changes

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Continuing our series, Blown Away By Hebrews

Today I meditated on God’s immutability–the truth that He never changes–as well as His eternal nature and future rule. Hebrews 1:8-9 quote Psalm 45:5-6, which say,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

Here are a few other verses that speak of God’s unchanging and eternal nature.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6

“But you are the same, and your years have no end.” Psalm 102:27

My lesson in Hebrews for today asked the question, “​How does meditating on Christ’s eternal nature, future rule, and  immutability affect your thinking and behavior in a specific area of your life?” Here were my simple answers.

  • It makes me feel small.
  • It gives me broader perspective.
  • It humbles me.
  • It inspires me to redeem the time I have here, knowing that it is fleeting, and but a drop in the ocean compared to God and His eternal nature.
  • It fills me with the hope of Heaven.
  • It comforts me and quells fears about the future and the unknown, knowing that Jesus is forever and He will never change.
  • The security I feel knowing that my Savior does not change encourages me to continue pursuing Him, so that I might in turn be a stable, dependable influence in the lives of my husband and others. The more I go to God for everything I need, the more predictable my responses to life’s happenings will be as I grow in consistently drawing from my relationship with Jesus, Who never changes.

 How do these truths about God’s nature affect your life, outlook, thoughts, or character?

{Hebrews} Long Ago

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So…I’m absolutely thrilled to be studying Hebrews in my weekly Bible study, Every Woman’s Grace, this school year! I happened to be eating up Hebrews when I learned that EWG would be studying it this fall, a fun “coincidence” that sealed the deal–I had to sign up. =)

I’ll kick off this series with what I’ve appreciated about the opening verses of Hebrews.

Andrew is in a Hermeneutics class and reminded me recently about how important it is to read the Bible in its original context, from the perspective of its original readers, and then apply it to our own lives. This letter was written to mostly Christian Jews, not many years after Jesus’ ascension. With that in mind, read Hebrews 1:1-4 and prepare to be BLESSED!

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Heb. 1:1-4)

First of all, can I just say how beautiful this is?

It’s like the first page of a fairy tale, only it’s truth, and it’s really a part of believer’s personal story. There is an absolute TON packed into these verses, but today I’m going to single out one of my favorite pieces.

The original readers came from a long line of generations that had listened to the words of the prophets who foretold of Jesus’ coming and eagerly awaited that event. The reality that the Messiah had indeed finally come and made the ultimate sacrifice on their behalf was still new, revolutionary, and perhaps even confusing. Their grandparents, parents, and maybe even some of the elderly readers themselves, had grown up making sacrifices at the temple and approaching God through priests. They had heard the teaching of the Old Testament and knew that their ancestors had received God’s truth through prophets.

The writer of Hebrews begins by reminding his audience of the incredible event that had happened just decades earlier: not another prophet, but Jesus Christ Himself had come to earth. God had spoken through Jesus, Who was His Son, heir to everything, Creator of the world,  and the exact imprint of God’s perfect nature. He was so great, it would be unfair to even compare Him with the prophets, who had all been flawed messengers, fellow sinners.

Imagine being a Christian Jew at this time.

They understood full well what life had been like before Jesus’ coming, and was probably still surrounded by unbelieving Jews carrying on with the sacrifices and priests in the temple. This description of Jesus and Who He was must have been an incredibly moving reminder of what an awesome thing God did for His people in sending His only Son. They must have been filled with gratitude that God would place them in “these last days” that the author of Hebrews refers to, when prophets and priests were no longer needed and access to God could be had through His Son. 

I’d imagine, since these people centuries ago had a sin nature much like mine, that some of them had already grown calloused to the gift that Jesus was in their lives. I’m sure this letter was a wake-up call for anyone in that camp, a reminder of how blessed they were to live after the Messiah’s coming.

If you’re familiar with Hebrews, you know that these verses are only the beginning of chapter after chapter stressing God’s provision of the Ultimate High Priest. Meditating in this book is deepening my gratefulness that we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16) See what I mean about context? That oft-quoted verse is so much more poignant when you ponder how the Jews had to approach God prior to Jesus.

I hope these few simple thoughts inspire you to return to Hebrews on your own; I’m looking forward to exploring it more together as the months roll on.

Artwork courtesy of http://www.credomag.com.

{New Series} Blown Away by Hebrews

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I’m excited to start a new series here on the blog: Blown Away By Hebrews. I read Hebrews the other day and was reminded of why it’s one of my very favorite books in the Bible. Verse after verse just knocks me off my feet. The incredible story of God’s master plan of redemption and Jesus’ role as our permanent High Priest is mind-bogging and oh-so-beautiful. When I found out that the women’s Bible study I’ll be joining this fall is going through Hebrews, my heart sang. I’m looking forward to sharing from my own study as well as all that I glean from the teaching that starts up in a few weeks.

One of my favorite things about reading large chunks of Scripture at a time is getting the full context of well-known verses. Hebrews is no exception, and it just so happens that the theme verse for this blog is found in Hebrews. Over the coming weeks, I’m looking forward to sharing how much context can add to the richness and meaning of verses we often quote in isolation.

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” (Hebrews 6:19)

Can’t wait to jump into this wonderful book together!