Summary: A look through the book of Hebrews at who Jesus is.
Jesus Is . . .
SERIES: Jesus Is!
June 4, 2017
A simple question for you . . . Who is Jesus?
That’s it! It’s not overly difficult, I’m not asking you how many frogs decided to jump into a pond or some obscure math problem. I’m making it really simple today . . . “WHO IS JESUS?”
Now . . . to be honest, that’s probably more difficult than most questions I could ask you. People will have all kinds of different answers to that question. We can be all over the board on who Jesus is.
For the past 5 weeks, we’ve really been looking at who Jesus is. We’ve looked at what I called distorted views of Jesus, and because of these distorted views, we struggle believing, or at least holding onto our faith.
Beginning today and going through the summer, we’re going to take a week by week look at who Jesus is according to the book of Hebrews. I’m not sure if I’ve preached many sermons from Hebrews, so maybe this is a good time to look at this great book in the New Testament.
There was a study completed by the George Barna group, and that study revealed that almost 75% of Americans call themselves Christians. Yet, only 30% said they attend worship at least 1 time per month. Over 50% of those under 25 — what we might call the next generation — don’t believe Jesus was God. The same study showed, more than 50% don’t believe Jesus was sinless – – – and 55% believe you can get to heaven by good works.
Those are some scary statistics. So, it’s not surprising that a growing number of Americans believe they don’t need Jesus to get to Heaven — they think they can get there on their own based on good works.
My point is that most people DON’T embrace a belief about Jesus that is accurate — Biblical. They don’t really understand Who Jesus is. A stark example of this was seen few years back in an interview with Parade magazine when Elton John revealed his belief about Jesus by saying, “Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems.”
More and more people – – who we would call evangelical Christians are saying things which are surprising, and not accurate. A N.T. professor at Wheaton College said in a Time Magazine article, “Jesus was a really, really good guy.”
Another Wheaton College Political Science professor said, “Christians and Muslims worship the same God.” She was ultimately suspended by the university, but supported by many of the professors. This created a huge controversy at the conservative school. And possibly there was more to what she was meaning to say, but the appearance that we, Christ followers and Muslims worship the same God is totally erroneous.
So, in many respects in the Christian world, we are at a crossroads. If we really don’t know who or what we believe in, then we’ll make too many mistakes and when we really need our faith to hold us up, we will really, really struggle, because we will have a very poor grasp of our faith.
So, with that in mind, we will be taking a look at this book, to help us better answer the who and what question. As Dr. David Jeremiah puts it ~ “Hebrews explains in more detail than any other book in the New Testament — just who Jesus is, what He accomplished — and therefore why He should be worshiped with reverence and awe.”
So, a quick background . . . and then we’ll jump into chapter 1. Hebrews was written sometime before 70 A.D., before the temple was destroyed. This book was written to encourage Hebrew (Jewish) Christians who were in danger of giving up their faith, because they were suffering and persecuted. These Christians were 2nd generation believers. They were JEWS who became Jesus followers. They were led to Jesus by people who had known Jesus during His earthly ministry.
These 2nd generation believers never met Jesus in the flesh and had never seen His miracles. And, because they were being persecuted, they were slipping back into Judaism. Many of them were no doubt thinking, “The temple is so beautiful — it’s nothing like the places we worship — huddled in homes or caves for fear of being found out. If I go back to Judaism – – I won’t face persecution anymore.”
A couple of other points about the book itself. Hebrews has the best Greek in the N.T. and has been called “the orphan epistle” because this is the only N.T. book which doesn’t tell us who the author is. Some say it was Paul, or Apollos, or Barnabas or Silas. But nobody knows! As the 2nd century theologian Origen put it, “Only God knows who wrote Hebrews.”