We don’t know who wrote Hebrews. Scholars are pretty certain it was written sometime before 70 AD, and they are pretty sure it was written as a sermon to a struggling and persecuted Christian community. The author is intent on shoring up believers’ loyalty to Christ and his church.
This, of course, is pertinent today. Many Christians are drawn away from Christ and the faith. It’s not so much that persecution is causing them to weaken in their connection to Christ. Rather, it seems to me, it is because they don’t feel they need anything more than salvation. Spiritual growth takes a backseat. Connection to Christ’s church is optional. The community of faith isn’t all that important.
And after all, in our world that is awash with distractions, a person can find a lot of other things to do. Entertainment is easy to find.
And a person can wander away from the church and from the faith. It’s possible. I’ve seen it happen.
Another danger to Christians today – and I think to the first readers of Hebrews – is the way in which Christians are susceptible to the negative glances they receive from the world. We want to have good standing in the world, among nonbelievers. But the things we believe as Christ-followers, and the way in which we live, oftentimes is contrary to the way of the world. And so we get those negative comments from the world about these things.
The writer of Hebrews wanted the early Christians to stand strong in the face of this subtle pressure to drift away from the faith.
The first reason to stay strong is laid out in chapter 1. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He has the No. 1 position in the household of God – higher than the angels because “the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
The writer repeatedly contrasts Jesus Christ with the angels. In God’s household, we are to seek out the favor and friendship of Christ, the Son. And we, too, will “inherit salvation.” We are made part of the household, the family, of God.
And so, first of all, we look to Christ. We turn away from the world, and we look to the one who is the very radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.
Please read Hebrews 1 again and let the Holy Spirit point out to you one important thing for you to know about Jesus Christ today.