Monday

09 October 2017

“..in these last days he [God] has spoken to us by a Son” (v. 2)

Psalm: Psalm 99


Background

At first sight the letter to the Hebrews may seem strange to us. It's really like a long sermon, written to a church which knew and valued their Hebrew roots. Although they had pledged allegiance to Christ it seems that they were coming under strong pressure and were considering turning away from the Christian path. The letter/sermon both encourages them to see that Jesus is unique and warns them against the danger of giving up.

We don't know who the author was. They were clearly very gifted in their use of language and ability to construct an argument. The writer used the Hebrew Scriptures very widely and expected them to be taken seriously. You may note in some parts of the letter there are references to angels. It may be that the first recipients of this sermon had a particular belief in the role of heavenly beings and our author is taking this into account.

Today's short passage sets the scene, but paints a highly significant picture of Jesus as it does so. You may hear echoes of the first chapter of John's Gospel (John 1:1-18), which sings about the manner in which all things were made through the Word, and how we have seen his glory. Here the Son is portrayed as being superior to prophets and angels, and the one through whom the Universe came into being. But our author adds that he "made purification for sins". Jesus' work as both priest and sacrifice is a theme to which this letter will return.


To Ponder

  • People often express a wish that God would speak to them. Here we read that God has spoken through his Son. How would you summarise what God has said through Jesus?
  • In different parts of the New Testament (John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1) Jesus is affirmed as the one through whom God created the universe. How does this insight enrich your faith?


Bible notes writer: The Revd Donald Ker

 

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