Text: Hebrews Chapter 11-13
OBSERVE: After concluding the theological homily on Christ’s high priesthood in chapter 10; the author of the book of Hebrews then offers an impressive list of biblical heroes. These heroes were individuals whose lives had testified to faith as the assurance of things hoped for. The author urges the readers to endure their trials just like the heroes of the faith and reflects briefly on the positive role that suffering can play. The letter draws to a close in chapter 13 with numerous admonitions.
INTERPRET: The heroes of the faith have constituted a great cloud of witnesses. In which Jesus may be added as the ultimate example of one who proved faithful in suffering and prepared the way for others to follow. These exhortations to faithfulness give way to a contrast between the covenants of Mount Sinai and Mount Zion: the readers are now receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, but those who fail to obtain the grace of God offered through this new covenant will not escape God’s judgment. The concluding admonitions to the readers include: following the examples of former leaders, avoiding strange doctrines, willingness to suffer, worshiping God with praise and good works and the encouragement to submit to current leaders.
APPLICATION: Although the writer and the audience of this letter are not known for sure; the purpose of the letter is quite clear. The letter to the Hebrews proclaims the superiority of Christ as the divine Son of God; and the superiority of faith in Christ over all other confessions. This provides an encouragement to persevere to forestall apostasy. Such perseverance is justified in light of what the earthly Son has done to bring believers into God’s favor, and it is sustained through the intercessions that the exalted Son continues to offer on our behalf.
The heroes of the faith can give us great confidence for the trials that we will face. All of these individuals were humans just like us and managed to persevere through faith in the one true God. Whether it was Abraham or Moses or David; we see individuals who had great flaws yet today stand as individuals who lived lives of great faith. But of course; Jesus is our ultimate example. His perfect example has brought all those who have faith in his perfect faith into favor with God. He is the divine Son of God; our one and only mediator; our one and only hope.
REFLECTION: Do you find encouragement in the examples of the biblical heroes? Who can you most closely relate with? Does their need for God provide more clarity and urgency for your need for God? Is Jesus your living hope??
PRAYER: Heavenly Father; thank you for the examples we have in scripture that testify to the hope we have in the one true living hope. Give me great confidence in this hope and help me to live a life that testifies to my faith in the Son of God. In the name of Jesus I pray. AMEN.
Song: Living Hope
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.