Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 13:10-13

“We have an altar from which those who worship at the tabernacle do not have a right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the most holy place by the high priest as a sin offering are burned outside the camp. Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that he might sanctify the people by his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing his disgrace.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The first sermon series I ever preached was through the letter of Hebrews. I don’t honestly remember why now. It was probably because I was fresh out of seminary and feeling ready to take on the world with my preaching. I still have all those manuscripts on a hard drive somewhere. I don’t particularly want to go back and read them as they were probably all pretty bad. My congregation was gracious to remember I was fresh out of seminary and had never pastored a church before and endured them patiently. I do remember that I labeled all my sections and made sure my big idea was in bold. They would have gotten at least Bs on manuscript form alone were I still in class. I think I wound up doing the series in something like eight weeks, which after this journey of nearly eight months, I can’t even imagine. Were I to preach through Hebrews again, it would be a much longer and very different series. In those eight weeks, do you know what I didn’t cover? Chapter 13. I didn’t touch it at all. We got to chapter 12, and then went on to the next series. These four verses are a big part of why. I’m still not totally sure what to do with them. This morning is going to be a bit of an exercise in figuring it out, and you get to join me in that.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 2:11-12

“For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying: ‘I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters; I will sing hymns to you in the congregation.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How are we supposed to understand the Old Testament? That is a pretty hotly debated question in some circles. It’s certainly not something to which the general public gives much attention, but if you are at all interested in getting a relationship with Jesus right, the question matters a whole lot more than you might think. If we are going to get it right, a good place to start is with how the various guys who contributed to the New Testament thought about it. This passage offers some interesting insights.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 2:2-3

“For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation had its beginning when it was spoken of by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us by those who heard him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever read a note meant for another person? There’s a good chance that note made reference to things you weren’t able to fully understand without some additional context. Often, reading things in the Scriptures can be a little like that. We can understand all the words (at least, we can once they’ve been carefully translated into the language we actually speak), but without additional context, it is not immediately apparent what they are talking about. Let’s add some more context to what we see here to make sure you understand it.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 1:1-2

“Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes – and ships – and sealing-wax –
Of cabbages – and kings –
And why the sea is boiling hot –
And whether pigs have wings.”

Lewis Carroll, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”

When I was in Mr. Brock’s eight grade algebra class, those words meant it was time to change up our seating chart. They still stick with me today and ring in my ears anytime I embark on something new. Well, it’s time for something new. The last week was a nice, natural break, but I am ready for a new journey with you. This is actually a journey I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. Over the next few months, we are going to be slowly making our way through the New Testament letter of Hebrews. Hebrews is one of the most theological rich and pastorally impactful documents in the whole of the Scriptures. It easily rivals Romans on that score, in my opinion. But instead of offering a basic primer on the Gospel, Hebrews takes its readers deeper in an exploration of the preeminence of Christ. As we go, then, we are going to see why Jesus is so great. We’ll also encounter several applications of His greatness that are designed and intended to make us squirm a bit. I’m excited to dive in with you. I hope you’ll come with me for every step of the journey.

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Morning Musing: Acts 1:8

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the big educational trends of the last generation is the great focus on all things STEM. STEM, of course, is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. This comes out of a recognition that those particular disciplines are of an increasingly vital importance in the modern world, coupled with a desire to prepare students more thoroughly and effectively to gain meaningful careers in related fields. This STEM focus plays itself out in a variety of ways from schools offering more of the relevant courses in these areas, to the development of entire STEM schools – like my own boys attend – where STEM has become an entire educational philosophy where real world problem solving and interdisciplinary interactions are the foundation on which all learning is built. What this helps students see is that just because an idea is properly understood through a single set of lenses doesn’t meant there are not still more implications to the idea that can help us understand other ideas in new and important ways. What has me thinking about all of this today is a reflection I recently read on this well-known verse from Acts. What it means is clear. But there are some implications of those ideas that I hadn’t considered before. Let’s explore these together.

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