Read through the lesson below (if you are in a group take turns reading). Then have a discussion, possible questions are included at the end. If you are alone, try to pair up with others in a small group though texting or even a phone call.
We really know very little about the Book of Hebrews. For a long time, it was thought to have been written by Paul, but nowadays few scholars believe it was him. Barnabas and Apollos have also been thought of as the authors. However, we really don’t know who wrote it. We do know that he was educated and was in direct contact somehow with the apostles. We don’t even know to whom he was writing the letter. All we know is that it was to a group of Jews (Hebrews) that had heard about Jesus and accepted Him as the Messiah but were slipping back into their old ways of Judaism.
So, the author writes an incredibly detail filled comparison of the old to the new - the old ways to the new way. The Old Covenant to the New Covenant. How the New Jesus Way, the New Covenant, is superior to the past. The author is well versed in the past ways of Judaism as well, which may account for everyone thinking Paul wrote it. He definitely knows the Torah and uses it for this incredibly compelling letter on why Jesus Christ is so much superior as the Messiah than any of the old Priests, Prophets or even the Angels in heaven.
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father’? Or again, ‘I will be his Father, and he will be my Son?’” (Hebrews 1:1-5 NIV).
Have you ever walked into a room that you have been in many times, but this time something is different? You know something has changed, but you just don’t know what. Maybe some little thing that usually caught your eye has moved or the lighting is brighter for some reason, you don’t actually know what has happened, but you know something has happened.
Now, I am in no way trying to say that the greatest event that ever happened on earth, the dying of Christ on the cross, was some slight change in history. After all, we even tell time differently because of it. In addition, I am sure that the first priest that entered the temple after Jesus’ death knew without a doubt that something was different. The curtain to the Holy of Holies was ripped from top to bottom and the Holy of Holies was exposed for all. As well as, the earthquake, and the darkness, and all those tombs. It was not the same old, same old. Not just a subtle change had happened, an everything changed had happened.
The Jews that the letter to the Hebrews was being written to had not seen any of this. They had heard the story of Christ and had even accepted it as truth, giving themselves to trust in it. But like so many human traits, they had started to slip back into their old Jewish ways. This is why there is a comparative nature of the entire book of Hebrews. Comparing the old to the new, the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. Which is superior?
These passages are in a way the first volley, so to speak, of the author directing their attention to not only that something is different, but that the difference is so monumental and magnificent that they have to be crazy to not get it. This is the Son of God. The One who God’s full glory is on. The Heir. The One who all things on heaven and earth were made through and are sustained by. The EXACT likeness and impression of God Himself. Jesus is no ordinary Jew, no ordinary priest, no ordinary prophet. He is even better than the angels that came to speak to your forefathers so long ago. Don’t you get it? He is God and He loved you so much He came and died for you!
There is no one greater nor one more magnificent! No one higher or closer to God than Jesus Christ the Messiah!
What do you think about Jesus Christ?
Where do you put Him in your life?
Is He just a friend or is He much, much more?