- Day 71. Hebrews 1-2
- Day 72. Hebrews 3-4:13
- Day 73. Hebrews 4:14-7
- Day 74. Hebrews 8-10
- Day 75. Hebrews 11-13
- Day 76. James 1-3:12
- Day 77. James 3:13-5
There are a handful of practitioners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) who are given the title ‘G.O.A.T’. I’ve always wondered what that was. ‘Is he as strong as a goat?’ Goats aren’t known for much, to be honest. So why are some of the best BJJ athletes called the ‘GOAT’?
Turns out, G.O.A.T stands for Greatest of All Time. In other words, they are some of the strongest pound-for-pound fighters who demonstrate amazing skill, agility, strength, and wisdom on the mats. Greatest of all time – powerful statement isn’t it? So many superlatives condensed into just 4 words. Truth be told, some of these BJJ practitioners deserve that title, at least in the athletic sense. But the reason that sort of resonates with us is because we connect with the idea of greatness.
All of us want to be great in one way or another. We want to be great students, great workers, great boyfriends/girlfriends, great athletes, and the list goes on. Greatness indicates that we’ve reached the pinnacle of something – that we’ve accomplished something worth highlighting and drawing attention to. We fear not being great because it suggests that our lives have not made the sort of impact we’re after. To be sure, Christians should be some of the greatest in all of these various fields because we see excelling in our studies, work, relationships, and even recreation as an expression of our faithfulness to being witnesses for Christ in God’s world. Yet, this pursuit for greatest can easily become a misplaced priority, especially when we yearn for greatness rather than faithfulness. In any case, this pursuit of greatness can grow to become a burden too big to bear, so that we are crushed under our own expectations or that of others.
As we open up the Book of Hebrews this week, we see that the one who is truly great is none other than Jesus Christ. We read the expression ‘greater than’ or ‘superior to’ again and again throughout the Book. This comparative is applied between Jesus and the angels (1:5-2:18), Jesus and Moses (3:1-6), Jesus and the covenant (8:1-13), and others (let me know what else you find!). And the fundamental idea underlying all of these comparisons is that Jesus Christ is the i) exalted Son of God, ii) the true great high priest, iii) the perfect sacrifice, and iv) the one who not only reveals God but also v) offers complete sacrifice to all who are united with Him through faith.
Therefore, as you read through Hebrews, you may find yourself getting ‘lost in the woods’ – confused with details and OT allusions that seem distant and disconnected to everyday life. There are 2 things you can do about that. Firstly, you can follow all the footnotes in your Bible which tells us where these specific OT passages quoted in Hebrews are found. Read these OT passages in context and chances are, what will happen is that what seemed to be a black and white reading of Hebrews is now filled with richer colour. This will take lots of time but it will definitely be worth it. Secondly, you can just continue to brave through some confusing parts without getting stuck in the detail, read it as a whole, and then take a step back to think about the flow and logic of the text and try to connect it to the overall themes in Hebrews. The themes in Hebrews are hard to miss, especially if your Bible has those helpful subheadings. Read it as a unit and enjoy the fact that God has come in Jesus Christ to show us who He is and save us from our sins.
Prayerfully, this will drive you to i) greater appreciation for God’s amazing and mysterious work of redemption, ii) deeper love for God’s work, especially in the details of history and Holy Scripture, and iii) a passion to make sure that those who do not know God in Jesus Christ will be able to, through your life and ministry.
- According to the Book of Hebrews: i) who is Jesus, ii) what has he come to do, iii) how has he accomplished this, and iv) how is this seen?
- Based on Hebrews, what are the implications for Christians based on the answers from question 1?
- What are the major themes in the Book of Hebrews?
- How do these themes relate to Christian living today?
Our heavenly Father, we thank you that you have spoken to us by your Son in these last days. No longer do we have to wonder about how you have spoken nor do we need to wander about figuring out the way for salvation. So Lord, help us to continue to savour how you have worked in such beautiful and intricate ways, help us to continue to never give up gathering together to worship you and praising you for your great works of redemption, and help us to love your word in Holy Scriptures all the more because it is in it that we understand what it means to truly live. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.