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Hebrews 11






There is no such thing as a bad chapter in the Bible.  But with that said, there are some chapters that just seem to be amazingly exceptional and present great truth in soaring terms that capture our hearts, minds, and souls.  Genesis 1 might be one of those.  Psalm 23 could be on that list.  John 3 is probably one of those.  Romans 8 fits that category.  And Hebrews 11 is surely one of those.  It is after all, the Great Hall of Faith.

It might be helpful to reread that first verse again.  It is important.  Steven Ger in his commentary on Hebrews breaks down this incredible verse this way: “Now faith (the confident belief in God’s ability to carry out His expressed purposes) is the substance (the foundational basis or essence underlying the attitude of assurance) of that which is hoped for (our certain expectation that God will make good His promises).”  In other words, we should live with that confident, certain knowledge that because God has done This we know He will do That

Verse 6 tells us why faith is so important.  We can’t please God apart from faith in Him.  Because we have not seen him with our physical eyes, by faith we have to believe that not only does He exist but that He rewards those who seek Him.

As verse 3 teaches, this living by faith has been a requirement for every human.  There have been no exceptions.  The reason verse 3 teaches this is no one saw the creation process – the creation of everything from nothing.  Adam and Eve didn’t even seen it.  So, again, all who would please God, all who would have a personal relationship with God must do so through the vehicle of faith.

From that point, this chapter launches into a long history of people who lived by faith.  They lived with confident expectation that God would do what He said He would do.  They lived with unshakeable hope that God’s Kingdom would come.  They traveled far, endured much, and waited expectantly. 

This Hall of Faith lists some of the most recognizable names of the Old Testament.  It reminds us of great stories that we need to know and to be reminded of.  But when you get to verse 36, things change just a bit.

Here we read about the “others”.  They are not named.  But they were important.  They lived in virtual anonymity but they did good stuff.  Indeed, verse 38 says these folks were so important the world is not worthy of them.

In the church world in general and in the Southern Baptist Convention in particular there are some big names.  Names that most pastors recognize readily.  Names that get a lot of press and publicity.  Names that are often seen on the speakers’ list of big events.  And most of those big names are good guys who love Jesus and believe in the power of the Gospel. 

But, by in large, the Southern Baptist Convention is made up of others.  These are pastors who will labor in the Gospel for the entire lives and other than for the 100 or so that attend the church no one will know their names.  And not long after their deaths, not even those who remain in that church will remember much about their previous pastors. 

The vast majority of pastors will work in anonymity.  Their reward will not be name recognition or lots of money in their retirement accounts.  They are our modern day “others”.  Their reward will be in heaven where they will not exist in anonymity.  They will know and be known.  God forgive us for not knowing them now and recognizing their value in the Kingdom.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Hebrews 9





The theme of Jesus is better continues in this chapter.  He is a better High Priest.  He serves in a better place.  His sacrifice is better.

As the chapter opens we are reminded about the tabernacle that was built in the wilderness after the Hebrews were led out of Egypt.  The description here is basically limited to describing the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies with the majority of the description dedicated to the Holy of Holies.

In the Holy Place, the enclosed section just outside the Holy of Holies, there was the lamp stand (menorah), and the table upon which the Show Bread or Bread of the Presence was aligned on.  The Ark of the Covenant rested inside the Holy of Holies.

We discover in verse 4 that there were three things in the Ark of the Covenant.  One was a jar of manna obviously collected during the wilderness experience.  This pointed to Jesus as the Bread of Life.  The second thing was Aaron’s rod that budded.  This pointed to the new life that Jesus alone brings out of death.  The third thing was two tablets containing the Old Testament Covenant.  This pointed to Jesus as the ultimate Law Giver.

The lid that sat upon the Ark of the Covenant was called the Mercy Seat.  There were golden replicas of angels on each end of the ark.  Those two angels almost met in the middle.  These angels were “overshadowing” the place of God on this earth.  The Mercy Seat was the place that God’s presence descended to during the time of the tabernacle.

When we get to verse 6, we find where the priests worked daily in the Holy Place.  But only one man, the High Priest, could enter in the Holy of Holies.  And he could only enter into the Holy of Holies one time each year on the day of Yom Kippur or Yom Kippurim.  He went into that place to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

In verse 11 and following we read where Jesus shed His own blood once for all.  In other words, it was not an annual responsibility like Yom Kippur.  It was once for all which makes the redemption He makes possible an eternal redemption.  As verse 26 teaches us, if His shed blood was not once for all, Jesus would have had to have suffered, bled, and died repeatedly.  Praise God that Jesus died once for all.

The blood shed in the Old Testament did not remove sin from the people of Israel.  It covered their sin which allowed God to continue to deal with and work through the Hebrews.  The blood of Jesus, however, was not sprinkled on our physical bodies.  It was applied to our hearts and purified our consciences of the presence and power of sin in our lives.

In other words, the covenant initiated through the blood of Jesus was much better than the Old Covenant.  The blood of Jesus was more powerful and potent than the blood of animals.  The work Jesus performed on our behalf was better than what any human high priest could accomplish. 

The chapter ends with a reminder of the great promise that Jesus will appear a second time.  And one of the great things He will accomplish at that point is to complete the salvation of Christ followers.  The promise of our eternal salvation will be culminated when Jesus comes back.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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