What I’m bringing with me to my reading of the Book of Hebrews…enjoy!
Monthly Archives: March 2017
You’re only one week in! If you’re having a hard time staying motivated, try this video. If nothing else, it’ll remind you about something important this weekend. Enjoy!
Built to last.
That is the quality that drew Phil and me to the home our family has lived in for 14 years and counting. When we walked in and looked around, we could tell it was built to last. There were colors on the walls we did not love, there were dated features throughout, but it was built to last. Our realtor spoke of the builder as being someone known for quality work who had built many homes in our neighborhood. In speaking with the neighbors, they agreed, the builder does work with care and integrity. Because of the builder, the house is strong.
In this passage we are reminded that the builder of all things is God. It is by God’s hand that the world and everything in it is created and sustained. Jesus is the head of the house of which we all are part. The house referred to in this passage is not a physical building, of course, but the household of believers, people of faith.
You notice references to Moses in this passage. He is a figure who would have been understood as the greatest of men by the Jewish listeners and readers of this text, and using Moses as a comparison, the author firmly establishes Christ’s place as the highest priest. While acknowledging Moses’ faith and greatness, and without diminishing him at all, the author is clear in pointing out that Christ is superior, even to Moses. Moses was faithful in obedience to God; Jesus Christ is God, the Son. Moses helped lead the faithful; Jesus Christ is the one in whom our faith rests. Moses was a model member of God’s house; Jesus Christ is head of the house, God’s Son. And we are the house, created by God and united in Christ.
What does it mean to you to be part of such a diverse household, the household of faith? What do you desire from this household, and what time and talents can you, or do you, contribute to it?
– Betsy Aho
There is something wonderful and comforting in shared experiences. When I get together with my brother, we share stories of our time growing up together. The times we laughed. The times we were embarrassed. The times we mourned together. When we meet someone new, we do this same thing. We begin to tell each other stories. Finding points of commonality between ourselves. Being able to relate to one another because we can share stories about what we both have experienced.
In yesterday’s reading, we find the author pontificating on the fact that Jesus came to us not only as God but as human as well. There is a cosmic paradox in this person Jesus. He is fully human and fully divine all at the same time. And the author wants us to see the humanity of Jesus in this moment.
What does it matter that Jesus came to us as human? Why does it matter that Jesus left his place in heaven to be with us? The author answers that in our reading today. To be our sibling. To share in the experience of being human. Not only to show us how to live but to be able to empathize with us. It is hard to empathize with someone when you have not experienced anything like what they have experience. Christ has experienced what it is to be human and because of this, he is highly qualified to be our high priest, to be our advocate before God. And through Christ’s death, God has adopted us and we are made co-heirs and siblings of Christ. We have the shared experience of being Christ’s sisters and brothers.
As you go about your day, remember that God come to us in Jesus and he has experienced what it means to be human, the heartaches and the joys. Jesus laughed and cried with his friends. Jesus knows what it is to be lonely and to be surrounded by his friends. No matter what is happening around us, Jesus is always as close as our siblings.
– Pastor Drew
Why Did Jesus Have to Die?
That question is one of the most pondered, explained, debated and interpreted in the history of our Christian faith. Why, if God is all powerful, all knowing, all able, would Jesus, the son of God, have to suffer death … even death on a cross?
The author of Hebrews wrestles with this question in today’s reading and comes to the conclusion that Jesus suffered death so that, by the grace of God, he might taste death on behalf of us all.
I believe if a preacher wanted to, he or she could pontificate on this verse for the next decade worth of sermons and still come back to the question of “why?”
We are spending this Lenten season preparing for the death and resurrection of Jesus. What would our faith be without his death? There could be no resurrection without it … which begs the question, can we have our faith in Jesus Christ without his resurrection?
Hebrews presents an image of the exalted, honored, revered Jesus who is God, suffered a human death and now reigns as Lord of both heaven and earth, the divine and the temporal, the mortal and immortal world, now and forever more.
I cannot help but read those words and stop and say, “My God, what am I that you would give up your exalted status to suffer and die on MY behalf?” The author asks the same question … which is really a quote from Psalm 8:4-6, which reads, “What are humans that you would care for them?”
But our God does care for humanity. Our God cares even for us. Rest in that notion today as we continue to journey through Hebrews toward the cross.
– Pastor Andrew
HEBREWS 2:1-4: WARNING! WARNING!
- Written by Betsy Aho
- Created: March 03, 2017
That’s how this chapter opens. We are reminded of the relevance of God’s message, as revealed through Jesus Christ, and instructed to stay focused on the greatness of what is offered through God without straying.
Most Bibles have headings before each section of text. The Bibles I looked at have this section labeled as, “Warning to Pay Attention,” or something similar. These headings are not part of the original text but are added by the publisher. And, while sometimes helpful, I think that in this case the heading is misleading. The first verse and a half sound a bit like a warning, but the rest of this passage is more a celebration of God’s redemption as declared by Jesus Christ, perpetuated by those who heard Jesus, and validated by the distribution of gifts of the Holy Spirit.
What strikes me in this brief passage (besides that it is not so much a warning but an affirmation) is that the author acknowledges the importance of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and humanity when speaking of salvation! We often think of salvation as being wrapped up completely in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. While this is not an incorrect understanding, the author of Hebrews broadens the scope and invites us to stretch our thinking as well.
This passage opens with a reminder to hold fast to the message of justice and salvation, then quickly reminds us that justice and salvation can be best understood when we recognize the work of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and recognize the gifts bestowed upon humanity as well.
As you read this passage, I encourage you to think about how you understand salvation and redemption, and to reflect on what gifts the Holy Spirit has gifted to you? How do you use those gifts to move toward redemption in the world?