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Lesson 1: Jesus and the Book of Hebrews *

Introduction: Why study the book of Hebrews? One reason is that it is sort of the "missing link" in the New Testament. It is unique because it fills an important gap. The gospels and Acts bring us to the point where Jesus floats off into the sky. Revelation predicts how Jesus will return in power and glory. What is Jesus doing in between His ascension and His return? What is going on in God's life between Acts and Revelation? Hebrews answers that question. It explains to us what Jesus is doing now and why. Let's pull back the curtain on what our Lord is up to these days by jumping into an overview of our thirteen-week study of Hebrews!

  1. Jesus the Communicator

    1. Read Hebrews 1:1. Our text tells us that God revealed His will to us in the past through His prophets and "in various ways." What are some of these ways? How else did God communicate with His people? (God thundered from Mount Sinai when He gave the Ten Commandments ( Exodus 20:18). He directed His people through the stones on the breastplate of the High Priest (Ex. 28:30). He sent angels with messages ( Judges 6:12). He even spoke to Balaam through his donkey (Num. 22:28).)

    2. Read Hebrews 1:2. How has God communicated to us now? (Through Jesus, His Son.)

      1. How would you compare getting the word of God by these other means, as opposed to getting it from Jesus?

      2. How important a communicator is Jesus? What qualifies Him to give us God's word? (Verse 2 tells us some astonishing things about Jesus. It tells us that Jesus made the universe. It also tells us that Jesus is the heir "of all things.")

        1. Why do you think these two descriptions of Jesus were chosen to be used here? (It shows that Jesus is the beginning (the creator of the universe) and the end (the heir of all things). This reminds of the text in Revelation that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end ( Revelation 22:13).)

    3. Read Hebrews 1:3a. Is Jesus God?

      1. What is the radiance of God's glory? (Radiance is what emanates, what we see. Jesus is the glorious part of God that we can see.)

        1. How is this true?

      2. When the text says that Jesus is the "exact representation of [God's] being, tell me what is the difference between Jesus and a clone? (It seems none. I understand this text to say that Jesus is exactly like God.)

      3. Who is the power of the universe? (Jesus sustains all things.)

        1. What do you find interesting about the revelation that Jesus' word sustains all things? (He doesn't have to strain, He only needs to speak. That is power!)

    4. Read Hebrews 1:3b. Where is Jesus right now? (Now we begin to see what Jesus is doing. The thread of logic we have read tells us this about Jesus: He came to our world to reveal God. He is God and because of that He was able to provide the purification for our sins. Now He has retaken His position of authority in heaven.)

    5. Read Hebrews 1:4-5. Why does the text compare Jesus to the angels? (Other than the Godhead, the angels are the only other heavenly beings about which we know. This text tells us that we should not think Jesus was just an angel.)

    6. To summarize this section, what kind of communicator is Jesus? (The best - because He is God and because He came to live with us.)

  2. Our Obligation to Listen

    1. Read Hebrews 2:1-3. What kind of attention must we pay to what Jesus has told us? (Careful.)

      1. What is the danger of not paying close attention? (We will "drift away.")

        1. Do you know any Christians like that? Has that happened to you at some time in your life? How about your attention right now?

      2. The text seems to equate "ignore" with failing to pay close attention. Is that fair?

      3. What happens to us if we "drift?"(If we ignore our opportunity for salvation we will receive our "just punishment." The point is that if Jesus is speaking we should pay special attention.)

    2. Add Hebrews 2:4 to what we have read. How can we know that Jesus is the "real thing?"

      1. How can we know that the gospel message is the "real thing?" (The signs, wonders and miracles that testified to Jesus' work show He is the real thing. The gospel today should be confirmed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.)

      2. How about the gospel that you preach - is it attested to by the "gifts of the Holy Spirit?"

  3. The Subject of the Communication

    1. Read Hebrews 4:14-16. When I say the name "High Priest," what comes to your mind in the context of the Old Testament? (The sanctuary service that was the method for the removal of sin. See, for example, Leviticus 16.)

      1. Jesus is described as our "great" High Priest. Why?(There are several reasons why "great" is the right term - let me give you just one. As we will see in more detail in later lessons, Jesus gave Himself as a permanent sacrifice for our sins. He was not like the High Priests of the Old Testament who repeatedly offered animal sacrifices for themselves and others. ( Hebrews 7:27-28))

      2. Jesus, we are told, has gone "through the heavens." What do you think that means? I thought we learned that Jesus was "in" heaven, not rocketing through them. (If you are looking at the KJV, you will see it says "into the heavens." This translation is not as accurate as the NIV's "through" the heavens. This is a reference to the ascending order of heavens. 2 Corinthians 12:2 speaks of being "caught up to the third heaven." Simply, put, Jesus has moved up to heaven's penthouse. He has arrived at the "top floor.")

        1. When you think of Jesus, as a High Priest, passing "through" something, what comes to mind? (One commentary I read noted that the High Priest in the earthly sanctuary service passed through the veil from the holy to the most holy place on the Day of Atonement. We now have Jesus passing through the various levels of heaven to reach the throne of God. Just as the Most Holy place was for the presence of God, so Jesus now is in the presence of God in heaven.)

      3. What does it do for our faith to know that Jesus is our High Priest working on our behalf in heaven? (Verses 14-16 suggest that it should increase our faith in two ways. First, this knowledge should help us to "hold firmly" to our faith. Second, we have a sympathetic High Priest because He knows what we are going through. The result? It gives us confidence to approach God for help.)

    2. Friend, we are just beginning our study of the book of Hebrews. We have learned this week that Jesus has important lessons for us that we need to carefully consider. What Jesus is doing for us right now as our High Priest is one of those important lessons. Why not stick around and learn more this quarter as we explore the book of Hebrews?

  1. Next Week: Jesus, Our King.
* Copr. 2003, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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