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Hebrews 1




Today we get to start a new book, the Book of Hebrews.  It is a general epistle.  That means it was not written to a particular individual like 1 Timothy was for example.  It also was not written to a specific church like Colossians was for example.  Instead it was written to a group of people that were scattered around like 1 Peter was for example.  By the title of the book, we can assume that this letter was written to Christ followers who came out of Judaism.  There is also some evidence that it was also written to some extent to those who still adhered to the Jewish religion. In other words, this letter could have been used as an apologetic to help convince those who were not saved to accept Jesus.

In many ways, the book of Hebrews has one theme.  That theme is Jesus is better. Throughout the book we see Jesus compared to a lot of different things including a lot of things and people from the Old Testament.  But it doesn’t matter what you compare Jesus to.  Jesus is better. 

As the book opens we read where God had spoken many times in many ways. The many times idea speaks to the progressive prophetic revelations of the Old Testament.  Those revelations were not constant.  There were times God would raise up a prophet and speak through him.  There were other times in the Old Testament that it seems God was not speaking additional revelation through a prophet.  The many ways idea speaks to things like covenants, a legal code, a burning bush, angels, a fiery mountain, dreams, visions, signs, wonders, a still, small voice, etc.  One thing to remember here is all of this evidence of how much God truly does want us to know Him and to know what He has to say.

But now God has spoken to us through His Son.  Jesus is not merely the instrument through which God’s message is communicated.  He is actually the message itself.  God’s final revelation is the person of His Son.  So, even as important as the Old Testament prophets were, Jesus is better. By the way, the messages of the prophets were progressive.  The message of Jesus is final.  There is no further revelation from God.

In verse 4, we are reminded that Jesus is superior to the angels.  The Bible is full of angelic activity: some of it from fallen angels; some of it from the good guys.  The holy angels accomplished a lot throughout the pages of Scripture.  By the way, I think they are still accomplishing a lot today.  But none of them is as great as Jesus.  And none of them could accomplish what Jesus did.  Much of the rest of the chapter has to do with a comparison between Jesus and the holy angels. 

You might wonder why so much space is given to the comparison of Jesus and angels.  There are a couple of reasons.  One is there is some evidence of angel worship among the Jewish people at that time.  The other reason is just the prominent place angels held in the theology of first century Jewish thought.  As a result, those with a Jewish background needed to be reminded of the superiority of Jesus.

That doesn’t mean angels weren’t or aren’t important.  As verse 14 says, they are ministering spirits sent to serve in behalf of those who are saved and who will one day inherit the fullness of their salvation.

Colossians 4





And just like that, we come to the end of this book.  Before we actually look at the chapter, it is important to remember that the chapter and verse designations were put into the Bible long after it was written.  In other words, Paul didn’t write with chapter breaks and numbered verses when he wrote his letters.  He just wrote letters like we do.

It was not until later that translators began to add chapters and verses.  Part of the genius of that is it helps us find particular passages of Scripture more readily and it helps groups of people get to a common place in the Bible.  But it is important to remember that the chapter and verse designations are not inspired and they certainly aren’t infallible.  In fact, there are a few occasions where it seems like a chapter break could have been better placed.

That is the case with the beginning of chapter four.  The first verse seems to fit much with better with the end of chapter three than it does the content of chapter four.  The first verse is still dealing with how the peace of God should impact our most important relationships.  From our context, this one deald with the relationship between the employer/supervisor and the employee.

The employer/supervisor is given a couple things to do. Be just.  Be fair.  Be just might be understood as do the right thing.  Be fair might be understood is be right with the folks who work for you.  The motivation for this is we all have a Master in heaven.

From there Paul goes on to talk about prayer.  The first part of the verse alludes to the importance of praying for ourselves.  Paul prayed for himself.  Jesus even prayed for Himself.  So, we should pray for ourselves.  In verse 3, however, the object changes.  Now Paul is asking them to pray for him.  By the way, as far as I know Jesus never asked anyone to pray for Him.  But Paul asked for prayer and so should we. 

In verse 5, the topic again turns a bit.  Paul is concerned about our lifestyles and in verse 6 our speech.  Basically he is challenging us to make sure that how we live and how we speak has a positive impact on people.  Our lifestyle and our communication should help more than they hurt.  Our lifestyles and speech are the vital basis of our testimony. 

From there Paul begins a short list of folks that are important to him and to the work he is doing.  How cool would it be to have your name immortalized in a good way in Scripture?  Paul being the humble leader that he was always seems to save space to make sure others get the attention they deserved.  We would do well to emulate that.  It is important that we make sure others know about the people who have been such a help to us.

The letter ends with Paul reminding the Colossians that after they have read this letter to send it to the church at Laodicea.  And they should read the letter that was sent to Laodicea.  Finally, Paul signs off with grace.

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