It’s fair to summarize the entire letter, as the bridge that connects the Old Testament and the New. The best bridge, Jesus Christ. These testaments or covenants are completely different and yet many Christians approach God on the basis of the Old Testament Law of Moses instead of Christ’s New Testament law of faith, Romans 3:27. The entire book is about Jesus and how He is the guarantee of a new and better covenant. When we come to a realization of how much better Christians have life with God, than Jews possess, it should fill us with gratitude and praise, not pride & prejudice. Because the superiority of the Christian’s faith, as the Hebrew writer explains, is based on who and what Christ did in Jesus. Not what God’s children have done, Jewish or Christian. The last few chapters focus on the writer’s plea to Jewish Christians who persevere in the face of persecution. Afterall, you can see the earliest persecution started in Jerusalem among Jewish Christians, in the book of Acts. So it is sensible to draw a lesson of strength & endurance from the very first Christians that knew what it was like to face persecution. One curious surprise at the end of Hebrews is the phrase “brief writing”, 13:22 as describing the entire epistle. Can you imagine what a full-length scroll would have looked like if he had written one? This makes me think that whoever penned this letter is very well accustomed to Hebrew literature, maybe he was a converted Priest (Acts 6:7). He was obviously writing to Hebrew Christians everywhere throughout the whole civilized world, and using the Jewish persecution in Jerusalem as an example.
The Hebrew writer in closing has one more description of Christ to proclaim, he is the GREAT or CHIEF Shepherd of the sheep, v20. This is a reminder to all Shepherds in the church as Elders/Pastors, that there is only one great One among us. Jesus the GOOD Shepherd. Of course that is in harmony with Christ’s own definition of the word “Good”, Matthew 19:17. It was of course Peter also that calls Jesus the CHIEF Shepherd, 1st Peter 5:4. This is in harmony with the entire book of Hebrews, proving Jesus Christ as GREATER than any person that can lead, or any place that can rule “in Christ”, or anything in the Universe, as better than angels, Hebrews 1:3-14.
The farewell given in this book, is sharing good news in the release of Timothy, v23, so perhaps the first audience was not exclusively Jerusalem, since Timothy was well known to the saints in more northern regions. But regardless of the whereabouts of the original recipients, we too see the warmest farewell as Gentile Christians, parting in this message with the greatest word in the Bible, “GRACE”, v25. Why is it the greatest? Because without God’s grace in Christ, there would be no Bible. Who among us deserves such rich wisdom as the mind of Christ in this unique & spectacular covenant the Hebrew writer expounds upon? We pay money for our Bibles, but no one can earn the point of the message itself, and neither can anyone buy faith, which this covenant in Christ produces in our hearts! GRACE to you!
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