Let’s Read Hebrews.

As I become quiet a picture comes into my mind – a picture from a video I saw recently of a swarm of birds – sweeping and swooping in unison into the most amazing shapes – all coordinated and moving at exactly the same instant – as if they were mechanically programmed, yet each one was a free bird flying on its own power.

“That is what My kingdom is like – you can’t see it, but just as those birds function in pure harmony, so My kingdom functions – completely designed and guided in an unseen way. You cannot see My kingdom because it is completely integrated into the community – but just as that swarm functions to produce a beautiful result to please Me – so My kingdom is functioning to give Me pleasure. So just know that you are part of that – you are there by My grace – you are there in unseen harmony with many others – to produce the music of praise for My glory – so open your arms like wings and take off and fly this week – with wings like an eagle, trusting Me to control the swarm and the environment in which it flies – TRUST ME!”

Today at the beginning of the beautiful month of October, having spent September dipping into a few psalms, I have decided to start reading Hebrews. I have chosen Hebrews because the problem of Galatians, where the Jewish believers were being tempted to go back to seeking to be justified by the law, is similar to the one addressed in Hebrews, where we can build on our understanding.

Today, before I start reading in depth, I stand back and ponder the overall message of Hebrews and why and who it was written to. As the name suggests it was written, not to pagan gentiles, but to folk who had been strongly Jewish before being converted. They were still immersed in their national character, as Jews, yet had received and welcomed Christianity. However they were in danger of drifting back into their Jewishness, making that more important than their newfound Christian faith and as such drifting away from Christianity completely.

The main theme of drifting away is counteracted by the strong message of perseverance 12:1. It is true to say the only test of real Christian faith is perseverance. Many people “receive Christ” with great joy and can become involved in all sorts of Christian activities and yet years later all that seems to have evaporated. I have experience of that in my own family, where one person even went on a Christian evangelistic tour, as a student and stood on stage giving her testimony, yet today denies the faith completely, immersed instead in the “New Age”, philosophy and is completely “fey”.

The writer counteracts that with one very strong message, which he obviously builds on. That is the message of Christ (Hebr 1:3), much like the same message in Colossians 1:15-17. It is the true diamond of Christ which wins our hearts, not a lot of doctrine, while doctrine is really useful to understand how everything works out in our lives and communities and I’m not despising it. The best counter for the faltering heart is to be presented with the radiance of Christ Himself.

Why don’t you join me in the next weeks as I read, slowly through this fascinating letter and get a new appreciation for the wonder and beauty of Christ and let us be inspired afresh by the challenge presented in it’s message?

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