Our Immerse reading is almost complete! Week 7 covers Hebrews, James, & John. Today I want to focus on Hebrews. The anonymous writer basically sends a written sermon to Jewish believers who had confessed Jesus as the Messiah, and were now facing great persecution for their belief. Instead of giving up and turning back to Judaism, the Hebrew writer encourages these believers to continue in their faith, and does show by showing how much greater (superior) Jesus is than anything, or anyone else! Here are some of the examples the Hebrew writer gives:
- God now communicates to the world through Jesus (1:1-4)
- Jesus is greater than Angels (1:5-14)
- Jesus suffered just like you, and will help you! (Chapter 2)
- Jesus is greater than Moses (3:1-6)
- In Jesus we find the ultimate Sabbath Rest (4:1-13)
- Jesus is the greatest high priest (4:14-7:28)
- Jesus established a better covenant relationship for us (8:1-9:28)
- Jesus is the greatest, eternal sacrifice (10:1-18)
In between these sections of comparison are encouragements to these persecuted Jewish Christians to keep their faith, and persevere even though it’s difficult to do so. And then the book comes to the main argument in chapters 11 & 12: Continue in your faith and run the race Jesus has set before you!
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.”Hebrews 11:1-2 NLT
According to the Hebrew writer, faith requires verbs! Action is a must! Faith isn’t something that just happens between the ears, it’s lived out. All of chapter 11 are examples of Biblical characters that were commended for acting on their faith. This is written to a group of Jewish Christians who would be persecuted for acting on their faith, and the Hebrew writer calls them to go full steam ahead! Don’t back down, don’t hide, live out your faith! RUN THE RACE! And we find our strength to run by considering what Jesus did for us!
“Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.”Hebrews 12:3-4 NLT
In our sermon this week we’ll be looking at Mark 8 & 9 where Jesus reminds us that if we are to follow him, we must DENY ourselves, CARRY our crosses, and FOLLOW him (Mk. 8:34). Notice the VERBS?
Following Jesus isn’t easy. It isn’t always comfortable. As a matter of fact it may very well cost you your life. BUT IT’S WORTH IT!
Whatever you are going through this week, live out your faith. Deny yourself, carry your cross, and follow him. Whatever it costs you, it will be worth it to be His disciple!