Over the summer, I am preaching through the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament. I’m excited, for a few reasons.
First, the letter has been a source of debate for a long time. That just makes it fun to study. Who wrote it? Who was the audience? When was it written? The main problem: The author didn’t sign their name to it.
Amid all the debate, there is evidence the letter was written later than the rest of the New Testament. If this is true, those who received the letter had been following Jesus for a long time after his death and resurrection.
Hebrews helps me understand what it takes to follow Jesus for the long haul.
Second, the letter addresses issues we all face. It was written to an audience who identified as Jews but believed Jesus was the promised Messiah. In 70 A.D., the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, and almost everyone scattered into the Roman Diaspora.
It was especially dangerous to belong to Jesus in Jerusalem. People lost their homes, their livelihoods, their communities and their sense of religious stability.
Hebrews highlights the human desire to return to a comfort zone when faced with change and difficulty. Imagine, you lost your home, your job, your community, and confessing Jesus as Lord might land you in jail. The comfort of a safe and legal religious life would probably be appealing.
Hebrews leads me to believe these folks were willing to give up a little Jesus for a little stability.
The solution, according to Hebrews is this: Consider Jesus. Hebrews is clear, Jesus is alive. He is actively working within the Godhead to continue what he started.
Considering Jesus is not just learning some stuff about him and having “religious stability.” It means, an active, ongoing, abiding relationship with Jesus.
Jesus is superior to everything. Jesus is the smartest, strongest, most powerful person in all of creation.
If I want to navigate life, I must consider Jesus. I believe Jesus knows how I should parent, what kind of husband I should be and what I need to do to wisely direct the organization I lead.
I am desperate to communicate with Jesus, so I can live life to its fullest.
The Rev. Jason Smith is senior pastor of Salida Vineyard Church.