Significance of the Book of Hebrews




My daily devotions in the last few weeks have included a lot of verses from Hebrews. I have to confess; for the longest time, I would look in the Old Testament for this book, because it’s named “Hebrews”, which makes me think of Abraham and the Israelites and all things OT. I was curious as to why a book named Hebrews would be in the New Testament. I’m learning that when God puts something in my mind and doesn’t let go, I check it out.
Let’s dive right in….

Who Wrote the Book of Hebrews?

The author of Hebrews isn’t known for certain, as the writer does not identify himself. It was originally thought to be Paul but was later discounted by some scholars for numerous reasons. The leading contenders then, are Barnabas and Apollos. These men were highly intellectual Hebrew Christians who worked closely with Paul. Either way, this letter to the Hebrews was probably written to a group of Jewish converts to Christianity who were in danger of abandoning their faith. They wanted to incorporate old Jewish customs and emulate the great prophets and high priests of the OT into their Christian faith. OK, now it’s making sense to me!

Focusing on Jesus

The writer encourages them by emphasizing the person of Jesus, his sacrifice, and the salvation he brings to those who believe in him. There was no turning back to the old Jewish customs. The Hebrews knew God very well. They needed to know the Son of God better. Don’t we all? Using this as a Lenten devotion fits right in with focusing on Jesus.

I love the opening three verses of this book! “Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. On the last of these days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son, he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.” The author reaches back to the OT and pulls the thread of Jesus from then to present day, with all the majesty and power and glory in between.

Jesus, Our High Priest

This letter has so many gems in it, I could not do it justice in one little blog. The author shows these Christians how and why Jesus is superior to all the leaders and priests in the OT. He leads them to an understanding of how Christ’s sacrifice is once and for all. Animal sacrifices were no longer needed. He strongly encourages them to persevere in their faith and gives a fabulous recounting of OT faith heroes in Chapter 11. He concludes his letter with ways for Christians to put their faith in action. “Actions speak louder than words”, so to speak.

Lenten Reflection

I have picked out a few verses that I want to highlight that we can ponder for our Lenten reflection.
The first is Hebrews 4:12- “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” He was telling the Hebrews not to follow the same path of the disobedient Israelites as they wandered in the desert. We can’t hide from God. His word can reach into our deepest thoughts if we let him in. Read his Word.  Let him show each of us where we can do better.

The second is Hebrews 7:25- the author speaks of the permanent priesthood of Jesus; now and forever. He contrasts this with the priests of the OT whose service ended when they died. Jesus “is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” He saves completely and for eternity. Jesus intercedes for us. He interceded for me. That is so humbling. What a beautiful promise that is! Because of my faith, I know that Jesus is here for me today, tomorrow, and at the end of my life when I will stand before God. He will tell God that I belong to him and usher me into heaven.

Lastly, Chapter 13. We are asked to love each other as brothers and sisters, show hospitality to strangers, remember those in prison, keep free from the love of money, and be content with what we have. We are to offer praise to God continuously, do good, and share with others. Why do we let so many other things in our daily lives take precedence over these simple things?

I’ll close with a few verses from Chapter 13 to encourage you to let your actions speak louder than words:
V5-“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” God is completely reliable! You are safe, he will be with you no matter what the circumstances. Do you really believe this?

V6: “So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.” Our attitude should be one of courage and trust. Where does fear show up in your life and hold you back?

V8- “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” His nature has never changed and never will. We can count on him.  Likewise, he is counting on us.

V20- “May God, who puts all things together, makes all things whole,

Who made a lasting mark through the sacrifice of Jesus, the sacrifice of blood that sealed the eternal covenant,

Who led Jesus, our Great Shepherd, up and alive from the dead,

Now put you together, provide you with everything you need to please him,

Make us into what gives him most pleasure, by means of the sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah. All glory to Jesus forever and always. Amen.

I found it easier to separate those last verses… there was so much to meditate on!

With God safely by our side, giving us courage, I pray we can be bold in living out our faith. In this Lenten season as we reflect on Jesus’ life and how we can live our lives for him, let him always be the hero in our story.



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