Consider Jesus: An Orientation to Hebrews

Consider Jesus: An Orientation to Hebrews

Seeing the persecution taking place elsewhere (especially through ministering to the imprisoned Timothy) and receiving word from the other elders of your church’s fears, your pastor wrote down a word of exhortation, a sermon to be read to his beloved congregation. Holding that sermon in his hands, the elder begins to read: “Long ago, at many times and in many ways…”

You may notice that this sermon is rather short. That’s because I read Hebrews in its entirety, only giving these brief thoughts before and after that reading. Since Hebrews is a written sermon, I felt it was necessary to hear it read during our gathering for worship on the Lord’s Day, as its original recipients likely first heard it.

Imagine that you are a Jewish Christian in the first century gathered for worship with your fellow Christians on the Lord’s Day.

Several years ago, you came to believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Messiah, the Christ, the Seed of woman, the Offspring of Abraham, and the Son of David. As revolting as the very thought once seemed to you, you now look with mixture of love and horror at Jesus’ crucifixion, for it was there that Isaiah’s perplexing prophesy was fulfilled: God’s suffering Servant bore His people’s sins, becoming a curse to free us from the curse of sin. Now, instead, of worshiping with your fellow Jews on the Sabbath, you gather with other Christians, many who are also Jewish, on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day as you now call it. You do this because Jesus rose back to life on that day, and this weekly gathering is a perpetual reminder to your whole church that you worship a living Savior, who will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Several years ago, whenever you were still a new Christian, you felt the fires of persecution firsthand. Like your Lord, you were mocked and reviled. Many of your brothers and sisters in Christ were thrown in prison and would have starved to death if the church did not take turns bringing them food, yet each visit brought fear that you would be imprisoned as well. Your property was even plundered by those whose minds have been darkened by the ruler of this world to hate the God of light. Some gathered with you still bear the scars of the beatings they received for bearing the name of Christ.

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