Summary: Our world is exploding with violence, and many people who once claimed to follow Jesus are losing heart. They are in danger of drifting away and dropping out.
I read recently that 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day. When we were teenagers we were part of a music revolution. However, as we get older, things change. For that reason I’m thinking about doing a commercial for a remix of songs for aging boomers. What do you think? The collection would include such hits as Herman’s Hermits singing: “Mrs. Brown, You’ve got a lovely walker.” Or who can forget this classic by the Bee Gees: “How do you mend a broken hip?” Also on this collection you get Roberta Flack’s soul-stirring ballad: “The First Time Ever I Forgot your Face.” And Paul Simon’s rendition of “50 Ways to Lose your Liver.” You’ll also receive the king of soul music, Mr. Marvin Gaye, singing: “I Heard it Through the Grape Nuts.” Included in this collection is the hit by the Scandinavian group Abba singing: “Denture Queen.” And for girl power you get Helen Reddy singing, “I am Woman, hear me snore!” Finally, to round out this amazing CD, you’ll get the legendary Ringo Starr singing: “I Get By with a Little Help from Depends.” Don’t wait. And if you order today, we’ll double your order and send you a package of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Aids.” Call now! Operators are standing by!
Generations come and go, and music styles come and go, but the book of Hebrews tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Today we begin a verse-by-verse study of the wonderful epistle to the Hebrews. For husbands and wives, if you ever have a disagreement over whose job it is to brew the coffee every morning, the Bible says it’s the husband’s job. This says Hebrews, not Shebrews!
Only God knows who wrote this book. In the King James Version, the heading says, “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.” But those headings above each book in the Bible weren’t part of the original Bible. Someone added it, because the ideas in Hebrews are similar to the writings of Paul’s other letters. But Paul began every one of his letters by identifying himself in the salutation. Like, “Paul, and apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ to the saints in Corinth.” His usual greeting was “grace and peace be unto you.” This letter has neither his name nor his trademark greeting.
There are many theories about whom the actual author is, some say Barnabas, Apollo, or even Aquila might have written it. But I won’t go into the theories because when it comes down to it, God is the author of all of scripture. Whoever may be the writer; he or she got one thing right—that Jesus Christ is BETTER than anything or anyone else. The word “better” appears thirteen times in the book.
Our theme for the series is “Eyes on Jesus” and it comes from Hebrews 12 where the writer reminds us we are all in a race. And a good runner keeps his or her eyes on the prize. Our key verse is Hebrews 12:2: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”
As we begin in Hebrews 1:1, there is no greeting or salutation; the writer just jumps right in to truth about Jesus. There’s no gentle introduction. The writer opens with an in-your-face fire hydrant of truth that immediately soaks your soul with five amazing aspects of the character and nature of Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 1:1-3. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance [Shekinah] of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
Every epistle is written to address a problem. In this case, these second generation believers were struggling. Jesus hadn’t returned. They were being persecuted. Some were drifting away and dropping out. We live in a time when thousands of people keep their names on church rolls, but they never show up, give, or serve. Our world is exploding with violence, and many people who once claimed to follow Jesus are losing heart. They are in danger of drifting away and dropping out. The writer reminds the readers to quit looking at world conditions and to put their eyes on Jesus. As we sang earlier, “Turn your eyes on Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things—bad things—terrible things—of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Let’s turn our eyes on Jesus and learn five truths that will give you hope and faith.