Against the background of pictures and stories of the incredible suffering of women and children during the AB war, which have been milling around in my mind, I listen to my Father: “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God – humble yourself as you recognize this adjective ‘mighty’ – I show some small glimpses of My might and power in the thunderstorm, in the lightning, earthquakes, sea storms, hurricanes, tsunamis – but even more out there in the outer space – heavenly bodies 100’s of times the size and power of our sun – and all under my control. That is a small picture of My power but I wield that power in the case of each one of My children – in a special way of care and wisdom, fitting each one of you – which you will never completely understand while here on earth – except seeing it through the terms grace and love – that is My attitude with which I deal with each one of you. So just receive that, walk in that through the power and love of the Spirit, and leave the bigger picture to Me”.
So now we are moving into the meat of the book of Hebrews. It is perhaps easy to lose the way of the melody line as we move forward with complex arguments, especially what the writer is trying to show with his focus on Jesus’ role as the perfect high priest. Having read up to 7:20, let me pick up on a few thoughts that should keep you on the ‘road’, as you navigate the complexity of the argument.
The main theme of the letter has been taken from 2:1, that the readers should be careful not to drift away. In this case the drifting was mainly longing for and moving back to their Hebrew roots, especially the role of the law and the High Priest and thus losing the main focus of Christianity which is Jesus (the author and perfector of our faith). The writer has gone to great lengths to illustrate this, using the work of Moses and the rescue from Egypt and the subsequent apostasy of the Israeli’s in the desert, through unbelief and hardening of their hearts. This reaches a sort of climax in the early vv of ch 6, where it almost appears that he is suggesting that one may lose your salvation.
He then pulls up short with the statement in 6:9 where he speaks encouragingly to the Christian readers that he is “confident of better things in their case’ Now note what are the better things he is confident of? Things that accompany salvation. there can be no greater truth than that anywhere in the whole story of God. That is, in fact, what the whole bible is about, not so? So now he continues with this theme picking up on the role of Jesus, that author and perfector of our salvation (2:10). He is firstly focusing on Jesus’ role as high priest, who is the only one who can bring perfection (7:11) and is “able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them”.
His argument is based on a few threads 1. The certainty of God’s promises on which it rests. This certainty is guaranteed because of the oath that God made when he affirmed the promise. Added to this the statement in Numbers 23:19 where God is depicted as one who will never change His mind. 2. He uses this mysterious Melchizedek to make the point that Jesus’ High Priesthood is far superior to that of the Aaronic priesthood, because it did not come by inheritance and the law (which he incidentally reminds us is unable to make us perfect v 19) and also because it is based on his ‘everlasting life’ v 24.
So the undeniable conclusion is that Jesus IS able to save completely and the only qualification we need, according to this vs 7:25, is that we should draw near to Him. These are the stem and branches, now you can add the foliage by studying the passage again in he light of this guidance.
Finally just a friendly request. Can you please keep your comments relevant to the book and passage which we are busy reading together. More insights, an observation of something you have spotted in addition or how something else falls into place etc I am giving general guidelines and would love to see you finding how things fall into place in that part of the book or fitting into the bigger picture of the melody line. And then also what you have heard Jesus to say to you personally from the passage. This will show me whether you guys are understanding and following what I’m trying to lead you to and we will encourage other readers to listen critically to the passage.
For me personally, I have found this whole emphasis on Jesus as High Priest a bit remote as it relates so clearly to the fundamental faith of the Jews. Nevertheless, listening to Jesus’ voice in this, I have gained a reassurance of the certainty of God’s promise to me again that I can take sincerely to heart.