The author of Hebrews comes out of the gate swinging.
Unlike some of the other New Testament letters we encounter before Hebrews, this missive does not contain a familiar greeting, an identification of the sender/recipient, or any of the more personal touches that one comes to expect from the books of the New Testament. Instead, we hit the ground running with four verse of intense theology, a high Christology, and confessional statements that make most seminarians’ heads spin. It is a dense four verses we are given to start the book and it is appropriate for us to dwell a bit in the language, the assertions, and the tone that is being set for the chapters that follow. The author insists that Jesus is king, prophet and priest and he is far above and beyond our wildest expectations of Emmanuel (God with us).
First, we should acknowledge the historical, theological and literarily contextual debate surrounding the authorship of Hebrews. It is unlike any other text we have in the New Testament. It contains a complicated structure from start to finish. It is full of Old Testament references and allusions. The title of “Letter to the Hebrews” was a later addition, coming sometime in the 2nd century after the text was already being touted as having been written by Paul. It’s unlikely that Paul is the author since the words, the themes and the history of Paul do not seem to match up with anything we see in this book. In Chapter 13, we will get some personal references from the author, but nothing so definitive as to make us believe Paul is behind this book.
It reads more like a sermon or theological essay than a letter. I think that is why I enjoy the notion of studying this book together this Lent. It is full of callbacks to the law and prophets, along with numerous eloquent and convincing theological concepts about the identity of Jesus Christ.
This Lent, we are preparing to be confronting by this same Jesus at the cross and again at the empty tomb. But who do we think, know, believe and hope Jesus is? When we describe him, what language do we use? What truths do we lean upon? I would challenge you to consider three questions throughout this study through Hebrews. Ask these questions each time you read the passage and see what God reveals to you through your interpretation.
1.) Who does the text say Jesus is?
2.) Who do I believe Jesus is?
3.) How do the answers to these two questions impact my life?
I look forward to your comments, questions, thoughts and wonderings as we read Hebrews together this Lent.
Peace be with you!
– Pastor Andrew
Posted in Reading Through Hebrews, Uncategorized
Tagged Andrew Pomerville, Discipline, Faith, Hebrews, Hebrews 1:1-4, Hebrews in Lent, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Lent, New Testament
How about reading through the book of Hebrews? One reading every weekday, a blog post with commentary each day, and a video to start and end the week to recap and motivate. Sounds good?
Posted in Reading Through Hebrews, Uncategorized
Tagged Andrew Pomerville, Drew Filkins, Hebrews, Hebrews in Lent, Jesus Christ, King, Lent, Priest, Prophet, The Peoples Church
Who Helps You Make a Decision?
The rebellion in chapter 3 inspires a myriad of questions:
- Why was the tree “a delight to the eye?”
- What is the sound of God walking in the garden?
- Why create the serpent anyway?
- What does it mean to know good and evil?
This is the stuff I love about Genesis. This book sets the stage for everything that is to come yet it also holds up on its own in a way that gives us a better picture of God, one another, ourselves, and our world. At the end of the day, I can’t help but wonder – who is to blame for this the events of this chapter?
When something goes wrong, something dreadfully, awfully, and terribly wrong, do we accept willingly accept responsibility? Because I usually look for other culpable parties before I’m able to step up and take ownership of my own mistakes, faults, and sins. Is it cowardice, self preservation, or just a fear of punishment that makes us so reluctant to accept our own culpability?
This is the first example, among many later, of sin in scripture. The reaction of Adam and Eve isn’t so different from our own…and their need for grace is similar to ours. Tomorrow’s chapter? Some of the first examples of that grace that is so desperately needed, even in the face of horrific choices.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of Lent with the recognition of Ash Wednesday. Each year The Peoples Church challenges the congregation to read a book of the Bible together during these 40ish days as a way of preparing for Resurrection Sunday. This year, we’re reading Genesis…but we’re encouraging everyone to interact a bit differently. Each day/chapter has a word that relates to it. We want people to take a picture and tweek/post/insta that picture each day Here are some better instructions – lent-2015-photos
I’m not bailing on the 90 days through the Bible. It’s still going strong and I’m hoping I can keep up the pace. This is a nice addition to the journey. Do you have a plan for this year in Lent? Maybe you’re giving something up or adding something to it? Consider adding this practice and interacting with a great group of people in East Lansing who are doing the same thing.
I’ll be posted each day about the chapter in Genesis. Put your pictures up there too, if you’d like? Follow the feed #TPCgenesis and see where this journey takes us.
I hope to see you along the way.