Sunday, May 31th, 2015
Intro to Hebrews:
The theme of Hebrews is the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ as revealer and as mediator of God’s grace. The prologue (1:1–4) presents Christ as God’s full and final revelation, far surpassing the revelation given in the OT. The prophecies and promises of the OT are fulfilled in the “new covenant” (or “new testament”), of which Christ is the mediator. From the OT itself, Christ is shown to be superior to the ancient prophets, to angels, to Moses (the mediator of the former covenant) and to Aaron and the priestly succession descended from him. Hebrews could be called “the book of better things” since the two Greek words for “better” and “superior” occur 15 times in the letter. (www.biblica.com)
Questions for this week:
- Look up a map of Herod’s Temple, the temple active during the time of Christ and the writing of Hebrews. How many levels of separation was there from the average Jew to the Holy of Holies? How physically close to God’s manifestation in the Holy of Holies could you get as a gentile? A Jew? A Jewish priest? The High Priest? How figuratively close to God would you feel if these levels still existed? Discuss what the removal of these levels means to you?
- Talk with your group about times when you feel you’re not good enough for God–that you don’t act/think/feel the ways you should. Talk about times you feel/felt you are/or were failing or that God was/is displeased with you. If you were a Jew during the first century, what would be your recourse (think Yom Kippur)? Look through Hebrews 10:1-18. Can God love you any less than He does right now? Can you do anything to lessen God’s love for you? Look at John 10:28-29.
- Look at Hebrews 10:23-25, 32-39. In the absence of physical persecution (imprisonment, beatings), how else can we persevere in our faith? How are you challenged to show the life of Christ in your day-to-day life? How does fear play a role in your testimony? Take a minute or five to encourage each other and know that your small group is a continual living-out of Hebrews 10:25.