I am fond of the letter to the Hebrews. It is written to Jews who have become followers of Jesus as Messiah. Consequently, they are under intense persecution for their new faith. The writer compares the old religious system to the way of Jesus. He presents various arguments to demonstrate the superiority of Jesus. He follows these by strong exhortations to persevere despite grave pressures. Because, in the end, we win!
This passage below is an example of this:
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus — he has inaugurated for us a new and living way through the curtain (that is, through his flesh) — and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:19-25 CSB
The writer has just spent some time, energy, ink and papyrus to show his readers that Jesus is both the Perfect Sacrifice (once for all) and the Perfect Priest (sinless and eternal). Now, in light of that glorious reality here are three things we do in response:
- Draw near to God – every barrier preventing us from access to the Presence of God has been removed by the sacrifice of Jesus! Can you imagine having unfettered access to the Oval Office? How would you use that privilege? Jesus died to give us full access to God our Father – a much higher office. Why would we not seize this opportunity to confidently and passionately pursue him? Ask Holy Spirit to help us create a deeper hunger for God in our hearts – and schedules.
- Hold on tightly to the hope we have in God – because he will always fulfill his promises! So don’t let the external pressures of life, or the internal voices of discouragement, despair and doubt rob us of our single-minded devotion to Jesus! Too many of us are living lives of quiet desperation. We’ve allowed the enemy to dampen our spirits. Resist him!
- In communities of mutual devotion, help one another pursue love and good deeds. We absolutely need one another. Holy Spirit has been challenging us to love more. In order for us to do so we must be tested. Don’t let offences – big or small – rob us from living out the true love, unity and peace that Jesus has given to us. God equates love for him with love for one another.
This is how we are to respond to Jesus!