Hebrews #4: To be king? While Jesus introduces you to the greatest!
title : Hebrews #4: To be king? While Jesus introduces you to the greatest!
Hebrews #4: To be king? While Jesus introduces you to the greatest!
Changes are revealers
The phase of the life of the community with a very strong Jewish background (the euphoria of the beginning gives way to persecution) reveals those who are followers of Christ and those who have followed the movement.
The latter seem to be interested in returning to Judaism, thus finding a quieter social life.
Jesus far above everything
The writer of the epistle shows them that it is folly and that nothing equals the greatness of Christ and what He has accomplished.
For example, Jesus is enormously superior to the angels and to Moses, whom Judaism of the time extolled.
Moreover, He is a high priest far superior to anything that has ever been known.
Jesus Son of God
From the outset, the author reminds us that Jesus is the Son of God, which in itself would be totally sufficient as the only argument for the incomparable value of Jesus.
The pedagogy continues
But in a very pedagogical way, the author continues to shell the markers of the Jewish faith to show how much Jesus is far above.
The function of the priests was to establish a link between the people and God, a fortiori the High Priest.
Of course, Jesus is too, He demonstrated this connection between humanity and God to a much higher degree; indeed crossing the heavens (Jesus) in the very presence of God.
It’s not about making theological performance…
Stabilize our faith
but, initially, to nourish, establish and contribute to stabilizing our faith, whereas some wanted to return to less successful Judaism.
Approach with trust this High Priest Jesus
The other counterpart of this reality, understanding of this High Priest Jesus.
Indeed, in his role as intermediary (man-God), a priest
knew what was lived on a daily basis with the greatness and the lowliness of man
and understood the situation well because he too lived it.
In this, Jesus Himself experienced all our trials without sinning.
Like parents with their children, Jesus shares our pains as if they were his own.
He was tempted, the same ordeal, the same path without being defeated, without taking the sinful path!
let’s get closer
It is enormous because we are assured by this victory that the link that Jesus makes between God and us, introduces us with certainty to the Grace of God.
We can approach with free confidence and joyful assurance because God shows us goodness and grace, so we get the help we need, at the right time.
But it’s huge.
Remember how the Hebrew people, in the desert, were forbidden to approach the mountain when the Eternal appeared to Moses. The people were in terror!
There we can always be assured by Jesus of a bond
and totally effective.
Here is how the author, supported by the Holy Spirit, transmitted these facts to us
Hebrews 4:14-16 / NIV
- So, since we have a sovereign high priest who has passed through heaven, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to the faith that we profess.
- Indeed, we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses; on the contrary, he was tempted in every way like us, but without committing any sin.
- Let us therefore approach boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain compassion and find grace to help in time of need.
Difference with usual priests (male)
One of the enormous differences with the priests of the tabernacle or the temple is that if they correctly understand the real situation of all men by presenting offerings for the atonement of their sins (by sacrifice) for their errors, they too are subject to weakness and therefore they too must offer sacrifices for their own sins, and indeed they must begin with this in order to be admissible in their mediation between God and men.
Legitimate in his appointment
If Jesus is much more legitimate as high priest bloodless of all sin, He is also legitimate in his role by the fact that He did not proclaim himself High Priest but that just like the high priests of the tabernacle or temple which should be designated by God, like Aaron for example, Jesus Himself was also designated and this masterfully with two characteristics…
Psalm 2.7 does this, while recalling divine filiation.
Single Priest Lineage
Like Melchizedek, a unique character that we discover in the time of Abraham,
before the line of priests like Aaron,
above all the system of law and sacrifices,
he is priest and king of peace at the same time,
Abraham gives him the tithe of his possessions as one does for God.
This enigmatic character from the OT (and one that brings to mind what Jesus will do in the NT) had a special place in the culture of the Jews of the time.
Jesus is appointed as High Priest in this unusual line and not in Aaron’s.
Here again we are not in the same category.
Hebrews 5:1-6 / NBS21
1. Indeed, every high priest taken from among men is appointed in favor of men in the service of God in order to present offerings and sacrifices for sins.
- He can have understanding for ignorant and misguided people, since he himself is also subject to weakness.
- It is moreover because of this weakness that he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for those of the people.
- No one can assume the honor of this office unless called by God as Aaron was.
- Neither did Christ take the glory of becoming high priest, he takes it from the one who said to him: You are my Son, I have begotten you today!
- He also says elsewhere: You are a priest forever after the manner of Melchizedek.
Summary of the previous two main points
We have just seen two aspects which nourish our confidence in Christ and which invite us to call on Him in all circumstances:
Jesus is a High Priest in the intimacy of God,
rightfully appointed by God who has classed Him in lineage without equal.
A new aspect shows the greatness of Jesus
The author leads us to consider another aspect which shows the preeminence of Jesus.
The high priests prayed for their sins
As we have seen the priests of the tabernacle or the temple had to offer sacrifices for their sins, there is an aspect of confessing, of praying that…
And Jesus, why was He praying?
So if Jesus was sinless why was He praying?
One could say that his whole being was also praying for his life (as in Gethsemane) not to know death, more in the sense that it meant a connection with the sin that He never committed; indeed, the wages of sin is death .
He did it without claim but with submission and the fact that He was answered by God, through His resurrection proves that He is without sin.
What is the meaning of all this?
But the path of suffering and obedience had meaning, why did God allow this? Couldn’t He have spared Jesus that?
Real understanding of all our suffering
This path of obedience through suffering assures us that Jesus really bore the sufferings that we know.
And so it is with real understanding that He looks at us regardless of our suffering!
Hi perfectly executed
This new aspect qualifies Jesus all the more in His role for us with God.
His salvation is perfect and we see it when we dwell on many different aspects,
moreover, His salvation is for all.
Yes, that is to those who obey Him, those who turn to Him, not those who think they are infusing into the group.
Hebrews 5:7-10 / NJEB21
- During his earthly life, Christ offered with loud cries and tears prayers and supplications to him who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his devotion.
- Thus, although being a Son, he learned obedience by what he suffered.
- And perfectly qualified, he became for all who obey him the author of eternal salvation,
- for God declared him a high priest after the manner of Melchizedek.
In short, nothing surprising!
The Eternal had said it in advance, since He had qualified Jesus in the category of the high priests like Melchizedek.
Are we moving up a gear?
Too bad we stick to these facts, we couldn’t move up a gear, leave the teaching of the group of children…
Hebrews 5:11-14 / NIV
- We have much to say about this, and things that are difficult to explain because you have become slow to understand.
- While you should in time be teachers, you have come to the point of needing to be taught the basics of God’s revelation; you have come to need milk and not solid food.
- Now he that is of milk is inexperienced in the word of righteousness, for he is a little child.
- But solid food is for adults, for those who, by experience, have the judgment exercised to discern what is right and what is wrong.
Hebrews 6:1-3 / NBS21 1. This is why, leaving the bases of the teaching relating to the Messiah, let us tend towards maturity without having to rest the foundation of the renunciation of dead works, of faith in God, of the teaching concerning baptisms
and laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
- This we will do, God permitting.
on our assembly,
on Biblical Action,
However, the sequel is even more solemn to awaken consciences and to demonstrate the folly of looking back, of reflecting in this direction. Hebrews 6:4-12 / NIV
- For those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted of the heavenly gift, who have partaken of the Holy Spirit,
- who have tasted the good word of God and to the powers of the world to come,
- who nevertheless have fallen, it is impossible to bring them again to change their attitude, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God and publicly dishonor him.
- When a land watered with frequent rains produces plants useful to those for whom it is cultivated, it receives from God its share of blessing.
- But if it produces brambles and thistles, it is considered worthless, very close to being cursed, and it is finally set on fire.
- Even if we speak thus, beloved, we are convinced that as far as you are concerned you have the best part, that which is favorable to salvation.
- Indeed, God is not unjust to forget your work and [the work of] your love. You have demonstrated your love for his name by the services you have rendered and are still rendering to the saints,
- and we desire that each of you show the same zeal to preserve full hope until the end.
- So you will not slack off, but you will imitate those who, by faith and patience, receive the promised inheritance.
The turn of this interpellation appeals to the history of the Hebrew people and illustrates the subject in the manner of the parables of Jesus.
The illumination of God / the Holy Spirit
you who were once enlightened,
you have shared in the Holy Spirit, in the powers of the world to come,
and you taste the good word of God.
The parable of the sower
It reminds us a bit of the parable of the sower:
Out of four plots, all have received but only one has been fruitful and receives the approval of Jesus.
The Hebrew people
As we have already seen in the OT,
for the Hebrew people, all shared in the blessings, manifestations and deliverances of the Eternal.
They were invited to look towards hope in Canaan, only two really put their faith in the Eternal there.
The work of the Holy Spirit and God before conversion
Little reminder, the Holy Spirit is at work in us before we surrender to Christ.
It is He who convicts us of sin and judgment.
Denying its illumination and denying the evidences to which we are made by God that should lead us to accept Christ as Lord and Savior leaves us separated from Him and lost forever.
From the time of Jesus
But perhaps the author is appealing to what happened in the time of Jesus, in the time of His ministry.
The religious and the listeners of Jesus had the enlightenment of John the Baptist, then of Jesus.
They were witnesses
works of Jesus supported by the Spirit
positioning in relation to the spiritual world,
from the constant gaze towards total rest in God,
many teachings from Jesus.
Yet their refusal to have Jesus do his work in them prompted them to crucify Him!
For readers of the letter
It is exactly the same process here: the refusal of some to allow themselves to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit so that they change their attitude and subscribe to Christ, after all the demonstrations of the greatness of Jesus and His salvation and of life in the midst of brothers and sisters makes that, by their refusal, it is as if they were individually crucifying Jesus like their predecessors.
“The cross” was an insult, this attitude of “crucifying Jesus” is like insulting Him and all that He has done and demonstrated, preferring to remain
to their old belief, here Judaism.
What more ?
No further demonstrations could change their hermetic heart attitude; the problem is the true nature of the heart which leads to this refusal, just as a seed conditions what it will give.
The author here uses an image as in the teachings of Jesus, using an illustration of agriculture that everyone can understand: the fact that God, through Jesus, waters with His work and His person all mankind is a revealer of the real decisions of hearts; some produce what is honorable and fruitful (those who have accepted Christ, his disciples, in the majority), others useless things, briars (those who are with the congregation, but whose hearts are insensitive to the gospel , a minority that disseminates the idea of returning to Judaism); what emanates from the lives says a lot about what is in the heart of the real decisions before Christ.
The tone is solemn to awaken the consciences of those who must take the step for Christ and to demonstrate the folly of looking back if brothers and sisters let themselves be carried away by this reflection.
Reassure and encourage
But the author wants to reassure the majority of the assembly, in case this warning would have destabilized them.
Faith in Christ shows!
On the one hand, He calls them “beloved”, as one could say “brothers and sisters”, there is affection.
I’m sure you made the right choice: that of salvation.
God is not mistaken. He is fair
God is not mistaken, God is just anyway, He sees your efforts, your activity, your concrete love for the followers of Christ.
Keep this zeal
Keep this zeal that will nourish your hope…
Indeed, spiritual idleness opens only to doubt, which later becomes the only spiritual activity: that of questioning everything or theoretical or superfluous hypotheses. Conversely, perseverance feeds confidence and this is the meaning of calls
in connection with Salvation in this epistle.
The more you live the salvation acquired by Christ, the more you nourish this certain hope and the more you look towards the objective, the finish line and the goal of life; the calls to faithfulness, to perseverance, to obedience are never conditional on keeping salvation as we saw last time, it depends on Christ!
Application for us, further reading
Judaism, our purpose?
Most of us are not attracted to return to Judaism, it is not our culture, our daily life, our environment…
New subjects more important than Jesus?
But the western part, in which we live, is more confronted with several ideas which aimed to overcome the obscurantism of faith in Jesus.
The lights: the man was finally going to take his destiny hand by
The envelope was beautiful, but, in the end, back to square one for humanity, which was not better or fair!
Industrialization _ _
Industrialization had practical sides but degraded some men to the benefit of others.
Besides the arduousness, it has not changed human nature and it has created, for example, an industrialization of war.
human rights _ _
Human rights, a fine echo of biblical commandments, but less so!
Anyway, it is inapplicable if the hearts of men are not changed by Christ.
Since the creation of human rights, how many wars and thousands of deaths have there been?
Individualism _ _
Disenchantment and the leveling of values have led to
and modern tolerance:
“You can do and believe what you want, I do n’t care , as long as it doesn’t bother me !”
And now hedonism opens up to an entertainment society
moreover, this non-ambition is only accessible to a part of wealthy humanity that we are.
A host of examples
We could multiply the examples, the sirens
of the individual king,
virtual rather than real world
inevitably have an echo in us…
And it is these mermaids who have the most influence on us, who are “in competition” with our life of faith in Christ and who could make us believe that it is better.
What would the author of the epistle have answered?
It would have been interesting to see how the author of the epistle to the Hebrews would have responded to these sirens…
It’s up to us to be the author
And besides, why wouldn’t it be another anonymous person, you or me for example, who could respond to these seductions.
What to answer to art, if not that Jesus is the creator of all the works that surround us?
“In the beginning God created”
Of philosophy. In terms of wisdom, Jesus in two sentences summed up everyone’s place, on taxes for example.
“Render therefore to the emperor what is the emperor’s and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22.21
Several books are devoted to wisdom (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs).
Science. We seek to discover and understand the why and how of what the Son has put in place. The Son is Jesus Christ.
“He gave laws and he will not break them. »
Microscopic laws like cosmic ones and Jesus is the guarantee.
“everything subsists in him”
Materialism. We seek to own. And if we’re rich enough, we could have…a gigantic estate, except that Christ made us joint heirs.
No need to own, everything already belongs to us.
This afternoon, take a walk, travel and tell yourself that it is at Christ’s house and at your house…
Now, if we are children, we are also heirs: heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
Romans 8 / NJV21 17. Now if we are children, we are also heirs: heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if we suffer with him that we may also partake of his glory.
Global rules. They were inspired in several stages on those of the Eternal. Jesus summarized them in a very simple way
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And here is the second, which is like it:
You will love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22:37-38 / NJEB21
- Jesus answered him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
- This is the first and greatest commandment.
The inspiration for these rules was a good idea, but humanity has forgotten something essential!
The first part: God
Without it, it’s like driving a semi-trailer without a motor, it will never work!
And we could go on like this,
of the individual king,
virtual rather than real world, etc.
For all these things, which can monopolize us, attract us, do we measure that Jesus is far above? And that He makes us participants in His triumph?
Think with God
God has given us intelligence, let us use it to reason with His help like the author of this epistle
who feasted on the absolute superiority of Christ,
who thus motivated himself to be enduring by looking at the goal of Salvation,
who did not allow himself to be distracted by the hollow ease of unfinished ideas.
Possible if we belong to Christ personally
Of course, these thoughts, these convictions are reinforced when Christ is our Lord and Saviour!
On the other hand, it is not the fact of being present today that creates the link with God through Christ.
It is a personal choice, not that of my family, my parents or friends of the congregation; they are examples to imitate to make the same choice.
Today is now the day of salvation as seen in previous chapters.
14. Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15. For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.
16. Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help [us] in time of need.
8. though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered;
9. and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation;
10. named of God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
12. that ye be not sluggish, but imitators of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Related Links / Notes
Study Notes are translated from the original French version prepared by the pastor Patrice Berger. The orginal French notes are in “note” form, and are not a direct transcription of the video, however they are quite close the original text preached at the church. The sermon notes provided here can be used as a helpful study guide/commentary through the book of 1st Peter.
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Bible verses in the study link to the ASV bible. In addition to the ASV Bible , other versions of the Bible are also available on our website.
The King James Version is available as an audio bible Podcast which can be accessed below.