Hebrews Part 2 Chapters 3 and 4 and 5

FALL BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES:

Cockerill, Gareth Lee.  The Epistle to the Hebrews.  Part of the New International Commentary on the New Testament edited by Ned B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, and Gordon D. Fee.  (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2012).

Harrington, Daniel J., S.J.  Jude and 2 Peter.  Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J..  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).

Elliott, John H..  1 Peter: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary.  Part of the Anchor Bible Commentary series edited by William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman.  (Doubleday, New York, 2000).

Harten, Patrick J.  James. Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J..  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).

Koester, Craig R.  Hebrews: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary.  Part of the Anchor Bible commentary series edited by William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman.  (Doubleday, New York, 2001).

Long, Thomas G.  Hebrews.  Part of the Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching series edited by James Luther Mays.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1997).

Mitchell, Alan C.  Hebrews.  Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J..  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2007).

Perkins, Pheme.   First and Second Peter, James, and Jude.  Part of the Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching series edited by James Luther Mays.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1995).

Senior, Donald P., C.P.   1 Peter.  Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J..  (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).

Wright, N. T.  Hebrews for Everyone.  Part of the New Testament for Everyone series edited by N. T. Wright.  (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).

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House Church  Hebrews 3:1-6

Thomas Long p. 46: the writer is a master preacher, is coming back around on a previously established point.  Jesus was superior to the angels, in fact, Jesus was superior to Moses.  (Moses is THE prophet and THE key figure in Jewish tradition.)  Then comes the “twist” – they, the community, are intimately connected to this superior one.  (This was not to diminish Moses, but lift up Jesus.)

The church is one, holy, (catholic), and apostolic

Long p. 46: “Those in the Christian community are brothers and sisters not because of blood, or race, or even because they are fond of each other and share common opinions and interests.  They are joined as one family because together they belong to Jesus Christ, who fully shared their humanity and “was not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” (2:11, 17)”

Long p. 47: “The church is holy not because of the purity of its membership but rather because it is made holy by Jesus (“sanctified” 2:11)”

Apostolic – not only because the tradition they hold has been passed down faithfully from the apostles Peter, James, John, Paul etc. – but because JESUS was the apostle they cling to.

Long p. 48: “Wherever Jesus Christ, the pioneer apostle, is at work, however far-flung, the church is to follow, even if it limps as it goes; whatever Christ is doing, however demanding, the church is to roll up its sleeves and join in, even if its muscles are not so strong.  Whatever truths Christ is teaching, however controversial, the church is to confess and proclaim them, even if it stammers as it speaks.”

Long p. 50: “Where do Moses and Jesus fit into this grand household of God?  Moses was faithful in the house as a servant; Jesus, however, was faithful over the house as a Son, in charge of the house as the heir (3:5-6).”  And he goes on to say: We ARE the house, what was being built by Moses and God was US.  Even when we are weak and flawed and less than ideal.

 

 

Sabbath Rest  Hebrews 3:7-11

Long p. 55:  Rest has 3 aspects here:

  1. Beginning of time / creation with the seventh day
  2. End of time / the Kingdom has fully come, Jesus is Lord of all, death and pain are ended
  3. The Sabbath in the here and now as the church gathers to be renewed and strengthened

The story of “salvation history” is cosmic in scale and time – as we struggle through our little portion (in the desert, during conflict and darkness) we can lose sight of God’s plan and lose confidence in God.

Three Points and a Poem  Hebrews 3:12-4:13

Three points and a poem is a traditional outline for a preacher / sermon.

Long p. 58:

  1. Point 1: (3:12-19)  do not be like your ancestors who doubted God in the desert
  2. Point 2: (4:1-5) as weary as you may be from the struggle – do not lose heart, rest is coming
  3. Point 3: (4:6-11) the church needs to renew itself continually – retell the story and listen for God each day
  4. Poem: (4:12-13) on the power of God’s word.

Holding Fast and Praying Boldly  Hebrews 4:14-16

Long p. 63: “Indeed, the Preacher’s main purpose in this section is to encourage the congregation toward daring, even audacious prayer, to “approach the throne of grace with boldness” (4:16).”

Long 64 ff: true prayer based on sense of awe, no one is worthy to approach God but Jesus. He is the great high priest who prays on our behalf and opens the doors for us (and unlike the High Priest in the Temple) brings us along with Him

Long p. 64, 65:  (He is not Catholic, but these points seemed interesting given the current tension in our church over the role of the Latin form of the mass and the idea of which way the priest should be facing):

“The priest, therefore, faces in two directions.  On behalf of the people, he faces toward God and travels to the holy place with their offerings. …   Therefore, Jesus does not place ordinary offerings – mere lambs or grains, or money – on the heavenly altar; he carries, instead, the human condition to God.  This high priest carries our need, our distress, our pain, our infirmities, our hunger for justice, our cries for peace to the very throne room of God.

But if the priest faces toward God on behalf of humanity, the priest also faces toward humanity on behalf of God.  The priest represents God’s holy presence among the people.  What does the church see when it looks into the face of its great high priest?  It sees in the face of Jesus “the reflection of God’s glory (1:3).  It sees a god who stoops down from the holy heights to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows.”

 

Jesus and the Job Description of High Priest  Hebrews 5:1-10

Long p. 65: “They are well aware that Jesus was a fellow sufferer – every passerby who looked up at the cross could see that – but the question for them was whether this weak and suffering Jesus is also truly the divine Son who, in ways that eyes cannot see, stands in graceful glory at the beginning and end of time, and in the middle of time is even now redeeming the creation and bringing the children of God home.”  For the first readers / hearers then and for us in this day and time.

Jesus did not have the fancy robes and the entourage

What the high priest did and how Jesus fulfilled the role is next.

As a good preacher he introduces the “Melchizedek” idea here, will return to elaborate on it in later chapter

 

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