Finding an Anchor for Our Weary Souls (Hebrews Bible Study Series)
In this season of adversity on nearly every front, most of us are tempted to either drum up more energy from within ourselves to meet God or to feel we’ve failed too much to come into God’s presence.
The letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament shows us that both of these approaches are incorrect. What we need is to see that Jesus is our once-and-for-all high priest.
His justice-worn heart, dusty feet and tear-laden eyes remind us he carries our humanity into God’s presence as the only true Son of God and our great mediator.
Come refresh and remind yourselves of God’s great promise that carries our hope into the inner sanctuary and anchors our weary souls.
Hebrews Bible Study Introduction Video
The book of Hebrews is a letter written to Christians who had begun following Jesus after growing up in the Jewish faith. These Jewish converts to Christianity were a discouraged, persecuted minority in the broader society, and they experienced temptation to merge the gospel with Jewish religious laws. The author of Hebrews speaks to their situation by making a case for the supremacy of Jesus Christ above all other leaders, social systems, political systems, and religions. Hebrews says that Jesus is enough, Jesus is above all, and Jesus is better (15 times!). Jesus is the full revelation of God, the perfect mediator who reconnects humanity and all of creation with God.
In this chapter of Hebrews, the author references some events that happened well over 1000 years before Jesus. After the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, the people of God flourished in and around ancient Egypt until a new Pharaoh came to power and enslaved them. God sent Moses to deliver the people from slavery, and we can read about these events in the Old Testament books of Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers.
One purpose for the book of Hebrews was that the author wanted to encourage a group of Christians in their faith. Many of the original readers had likely converted to Christianity from Judaism and now, in the face of persecution, wanted to go back to their old ways. Having faith meant trusting in Jesus even though their eyes could not see how things would turn out, so felt tempted to go back to religious laws and rituals that helped them feel more in control.
In the Old Testament, God rescued his people from slavery in Egypt and gave them “the law” as a way of helping them know how to live within the relationship God had made with them. The law included what we know of as the Ten Commandments, but it also included all of the first five books of the Old Testament, which the Jewish community calls the Torah. The law was a beautiful bond between God and the people, but it functioned in some ways like a magnifying glass, able to point out all the ways the people were failing to obey but unable to help them succeed.
Throughout the book of Hebrews, the author has built an argument that there is now a new way of connecting with God. In the Old Testament, the Jewish community had priests who performed religious rituals to help the people worship God. The rebellion of the people alienated them from God, and these rituals covered their sin by sacrificing an innocent animal as a substitute for the guilty people.
Throughout the book of Hebrews, the author is building a case for why Jesus is superior to angels, human leaders, and the whole priestly sacrificial system. This reality has practical implications for daily living. Chapter 11 tells the story of believers throughout the Old Testament who lived by faith and trusted in a promise they never saw become reality. They hoped in the promise of a new way of being close to God, and the fulfillment of that promise was Jesus!