Reflection on Hebrews 4:12-16

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Scripture

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest sword, cutting between soul and spirit, joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Observation

God’s word is powerful and alive. It exposes our secret thoughts and desires. Nothing is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed to Him.

Jesus is our High Priest in heaven. Having faced every temptation but remaining sinless, He understands our struggles. Now we can come boldly into God’s presence and find mercy and grace.

Application

The word of God is alive. The Bible is not some dusty old book that is out of date. It speaks to us because it is God’s timeless word. It brings conviction of sin and revelation of grace.

The word of God is powerful because it transforms lives of individuals and nations. As people are impacted by the word, their consciences are awakened to see how the world can be made a better place, more reflective of God’s kingdom.

The word of God is sharp. It gets right into our soul and spirit. It brings life to our spirit, empowering our relationship with Jesus. It rebukes our soul, convicting and cleansing us of sin.

The word of God exposes our secret thoughts and desires. We can put on a “holy” exterior that impresses people. But God looks at the heart, at what is going on inside us where nobody else can see. The word confronts our secret desires- both good and bad- and brings them to the surface.

To fully allow the word of God to have its full power in our lives, we need to read it in prayerful reverence, allowing the Holy Spirit to highlight words and sentences that we need to examine.

Prayer

Lord God, please help me to read your word regularly, prayerfully and attentively so that you can change my heart. Amen.

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Reflection on Hebrews 2:1-12

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Scripture

God, for whom and through whom, everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader to bring them into their salvation.

Observation

We must hold on carefully to the truth of salvation, otherwise we will drift away from the truth. God confirms the gospel through signs and wonders, miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

We have been made a little lower than the angels, but we will have authority over all things. We see this already in the example of Jesus.

Everything was made for God, and He chose to bring many sons and daughters to glory. Jesus, as the first fruits of salvation, is the one who leads us into eternal life.

Application

God made all things by Himself and for Himself, and He chose to brings many creatures into His glory.

I was made by God and for God.

We live in an age of total individualism. Nobody feels any duty to have allegiance to any authority or institution. We obey the law out of fear of consequences, rather than because it is right to be obedient.

We are made for God’s good pleasure. Therefore we have a duty to try to please Him.

Our allegiance or loyalty is to God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.

God’s plan from before creation was to raise many people to glory. He wants to share His glory with me.

The Creator, powerful and holy, shares His glory with me, a creature of spiritual weakness and a built-in tendency to sin. How great is God’s love that He should do this for me?

Prayer

Awesome, mighty God, I bow down and worship you. Your love for me is beyond my imagining. Thank you. Amen.

Reflection on Hebrews 5:1-10

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+5.1-10

Scripture

No one can become a high priest simply because he wants such an honour. He must be called by God for this work, just as Aaron was.

Observation

Every high priest is a man chosen to represent men to God and God to men. Because he is human he can have compassion on those who are weak or wayward.

It is not a choice of a person to become a high priest. It must be the call of God. Even Christ did not honour Himself this way, but had to be appointed by the Father.

Jesus offered many intense prayers to the Father. Even though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through suffering and became the perfect High Priest.

Application

Any ministry that is real must be done with a sense of call or appointment by God.

Being a pastor is, in some senses, not that hard of a job. Almost any christian with some knowledge of Scripture can cobble together a message each week. A bit of empathy for others fits one for the pastoral role. Leadership skills can be learned. It’s all easy!

After many decades of pastoring, I can say from experience that unless you know that God has called you and equipped you to pastor, the ministry will kill you- spiritually if not literally.

If satan hates christians generally, he is in constant open warfare against christian leaders. All pastors, whether they know it or not, are subject to constant spiritual attack- witchcraft, curses, accusations, temptation.

Only a fool would put themselves up for being a pastor without a clear sense of God’s calling.

But if you are called, the joy of being in the place that God has called you to be, doing the thing He created you to do outweighs all of those negatives.

Prayer

Lord I thank you for all whom you call to be leaders in the church- apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Grant them your grace and your protection as they seek to serve you. Amen.

Reflection on Hebrews 2:10-18

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+2.10-18

Scripture

Because [Jesus] was himself tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Observation

Jesus is not ashamed to call us His sisters and brothers. He regards us as the gift of the Father to Him.

If we are children to Christ, sharing flesh and blood, it was necessary for Him to also take on flesh and blood in order to die and defeat satan, the one who has the power of death.

He became like us in every way in order to become our High Priest to make an atoning sacrifice on our behalf. He was tested by what He suffered, and is therefore able to help those who are tested.

Application

Jesus was in every way human, just like us. We often think of Him sailing serenely through life on His way to the cross. But He suffered all of the same trials, tests and temptations that we face, but remained without sin.

Jesus got hungry, thirsty, tired, happy sorrowful, frustrated and angry, but did so without sinning.

Jesus was subject to all of the limitations of human flesh in order to be just like us. He did this so that we can relate to Him and know that He knows what it is like to be human.

The Greek word translated “tested” also means “tempted.” In the wilderness Jesus was tempted by satan and was victorious. In Gethsemane and on the cross itself, He was tempted to give up and disobey the Father, but He remained firm in His resolve.

We think of testing and temptation as negative words, but they in fact are positive. Temptation makes us stronger by driving us into the arms of the Father.

We live in a world where tests of faith abound in every direction. Almost every minute we are faced with a choice- to follow our sinful nature or to trust God’s better plan. As we make these daily choices to stay faithful to the Lord, we set in place a habit of thinking in which we prioritise God’s pleasure above our own.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I thank you that you faced testing and temptation on an even greater level than I do. Just as you remained faithful to the Father’s will, please help me to do the same. Amen.

Reflection on Hebrews 13:1-16

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+13.1-16

Scripture
For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

Observation
We are to continue to show love to one another, practise hospitality to strangers and pray for prisoners. We should have pure lives free from adultery and greed.

We must imitate the lives of our leaders and their faith. We should always look to Jesus our sacrifice, and not allow others to divert us with strange teachings. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever.

Our city is not in this world. We must continually go outside the city to the place of sacrifice, allowing Jesus to transform our lives.

Application
If we dissect this passage and list out the rules which must be obeyed then we will become overwhelmed by the things we have to do to please God.

This passage is not about obeying rules as such. Jesus is the focus of the passage. We need to keep our focus on Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and for ever. If we do that, we find our natural inclination is for the Holy Spirit to transform our lives so that we become the people the “rules” command us to be.

Jesus is our eternal sacrifice. He takes away the sins of the world and presents us faultless to the Father. Hallelujah!

Prayer
Lord God, please dwell in my life with such radiance that sin has no attraction to me. Amen.

Reflection on Hebrews 11:29-12:2

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+11.29-32

Scripture

Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.

Observation

It was faith that enabled Israel to pass through the Red Sea while the Egyptians perished. All the men and women of the Old Testament conquered by faith. Faith allowed some to receive their dead back alive. The same faith sustained others who were badly mistreated.

But all of these people, although they had faith, did not receive the promise of God in Christ.

Application

Despite the emphasis on obeying the Law in the Old Testament, it was faith that led all of the great people in Israel’s history. Faith is the unshakable trust that God is with us whether we are conquering kingdoms or are being sawn in two.

There are some people who want to return to the Old Testament Law. They say that we are “grafted in” and must therefore live as the Hebrews did. But this chapter says that those old-time believers are actually made perfect in us. We have a better promise, a higher revelation, and so the older promise is no longer needed.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for the faith of those who trusted you before Jesus. Help me to trust you in all things every day. Amen.