Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An Introduction to Hebrews

Imagine.  Only as far back as your grandparents have people been worshipping God through specific rituals and patterns.  The way of forgiveness was through confession to the high priest, and it came at a sacrificial cost.  Lambs were slaughtered, sums of money offered, time, property…spent.  It was no easy ordeal.  Councils were created to maintain that the law was being followed and in a rigorous manner.  "Walking up hill both ways in the cold without your sandals on" could very well have been an accurate representation of how difficult it was at times.  You know the stories that are told; those who were found be disobedient to God’s law being persecuted in the name of religion and malicious acts of violence directed toward men and women who look just like you, speak your language, and lived "just across the farm."
And I'm aware that you know this, but something happened--something that would sweep change all over the land and flip religious virtues as we know them all around.  The puzzle, because of one man, got all jumbled up again and it came a time to rethink what we thought we already knew.  Your parents remember that man. His name is Jesus Christ. Or, how you're parents put it, “There…there was this...guy!  No, no. So much more than just a guy.  People were calling him the Messiah.  The lame were dancing, the dead rising, the mute singing.  It was incredible.  He came here once when I was a child—he paid attention to us and instilled deep within in our hearts hope and confidence like I've never experienced before.  It was…unbelievable!  Like a revolution, all packed in one person!”  Of course, the story always concludes with hearing about that dark day in Calvary when a just man was crucified, punished because of his words.  Your parents recall though the magnificent hope of what Jesus’ closest friend said some of his last words were: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” 
"YES!  Freaking great!  Not only was he the final eternal sacrifice and forgiver of our sins so we no longer need to confess and offer our sacrificial lambs to the high priests.  He said that those tight-wad Pharisees were really “not fair, you see” and those Sadducees were, well, so “sad, you see…” You have been set free and sin no longer is your bound!  Forgiveness is readily available and All you have to do now to get to Heaven is Believe in him.  I mean, that’s not so difficult, is it?
He’s coming back!  …Well, that’s what they say.  Actually, now that you think about it he was supposed to have been back to get His people already.  HE said he would.  Well no, he didn’t give a time but I mean he is coming…right?  Yeah yeah, of course", you say.  You know, Esaac down the road is saying this Jesus guy was crazy.  And that you’re even crazier for believing him.  Work has not been fun to say the least.  You’re always getting the worst tasks because “that’s what crazy people do.”  In fact, it’s gotten way worse than just being socially ostracized.  Emperor Nero has decreed that all Jewish Christians be persecuted because “It’s their fault that big fire started that destroyed much of Rome.”  This a serious threat.  To be a hero means that you are the good guy, people are on your side.  It's not that way though.  Your death, as men would see it, is empty.  Are you ready for that? For persecution?
I hope you think it's worth it.  Sure, this Jesus guy said some cool things and, I mean, he performed miracles…right in front of people’s eyes!  But, it’s not been easy, and well, being put down by your used-to-be friends is getting old…quick.  No.  Seriously you need to Stop.


The cattle will get their water.
People are dying for this man,
That's right. It's martyr.
Are you really going to continue this plan?

This is the context in which the book of Hebrews was written and is a fictional of representation of what it very well might have been like walking in the shoes as a Christian 1,941 years ago.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, Josh! Hope the Bible study goes well. I am so proud of you for taking this on and that learning God's word is a priority in your life. Love you!