Beginning halfway through the last paragraph of chapter 4, Hebrews 5 details Jesus as the great high priest who is greater than any other high priest that has come before Him. Jesus is able to sympathize with our weakness yet never sinned in weakness. He did not exalt Himself to this position but went as an obedient Son at the appointment of His Father. It is Jesus who stands as the perfect mediator between God and Man, having always been the former and has lived as the latter.
This is followed by a warning against apostasy, which means to abandon the faith. The author of Hebrews writes their desire that we grow into maturity and, having had our fill of elementary doctrine and spiritual milk, feast on the deeper truths of Christ as if it were solid food. They indicated that some will fall away and will not be restored once they have done so, for they act in contempt of the grace of God and crucify once again His Son.
Chapter 6 ends with a celebration of the certainty of God’s promises, that He is unchanging and unchangeable, and will always be a strong refuge that will hold fast to any who come to Him, “… we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
What is our one great hope as Christians? It is that we are in Christ and will abide in Him forever. We have Him as our Great High Priest, the one upon whom the salvation of the world depends. He is the one who daily bears us up and tends to our needs, calms our fears, and trains us in salvation. He is the one who takes the punishment for our sin, taking our filthy rags and giving us new, white robes. He has satisfied the good and proper wrath of God against our sin and in exchange given us new life on His terms. At the end of our days, we will stand before God and declared righteous because of the work of His Son.
What an incredible truth we read in Hebrews! Philippians is certainly a joyful book, but make no mistake: Hebrews gets us back to the basics in a much deeper way, organizing our thoughts according to the Holy Spirit and showing us that Jesus has paid it all. He is the anchor of our soul in the worst of times, absolutely sure and unchanging, the only thing upon which we can depend. I dare say that if we read this wonderful book without our hearts being stirred, we must fall before the throne of grace once more and every day, asking Him to open up our eyes to the wonder and joy that is Jesus Christ.
Application & Question:
It is all too easy to skim the words of the New Testament especially and walk away thinking we have done enough study, or to think that we’ve read these words a thousand times and there is nothing more to be gained. Let me assure you that A) I have done this more times than I can count, and B) those assumptions are a bull-faced lie. Our souls yearn to be satisfied and to have their cuts and scrapes covered in the soothing balm of the peace of Christ, yet we are obstinate and train ourselves in everything besides Godliness. If the words of this Bible are bouncing off our hearts, allow me to challenge you and say that the Bible is working just fine; we are the problem.
The solution, I believe, is to take time and look at ourselves in the light of scripture and conviction of the Spirit. Be honest with the state of your own heart and mind before the holy light of God and see just how corrupt we are by nature. This is one of the best ways to humble ourselves, and yes, it can hurt a lot. It is in humility that we find our hearts soft and our ears alert, for God gently tends those who humble themselves and begin to pray. If we find ourselves impassive at the love of God or the wonderful work of Jesus Christ, I dare say we have grown proud and arrogant. The fastest way out of this state of mind is to acknowledge just how much we need Him!
He is always gentle, never mocking, and rejoices when a sinner repents. If you find yourself empty and at the foot of the cross, then rejoice – is it not the emptiness of the vessel that makes it useful?
Father God, the fear of you is the beginning of wisdom. Teach us to live in a state of confident humility before you, that we live our lives sure of nothing but the cross of Christ and our new life in Him. Thank you for doing away with the biggest weight on the world – for destroying the power of sin and death and raising us to new life in you. I pray that we all take your Word to heart and live in a way that makes others want to do the same
Song: Because He Lives (David Crowder et al)
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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.