ImmerseMessiah NLT - Flipbook - Page 380
in “a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.” In fact,
the Lord Jesus himself announced this great salvation of the new covenant, and the old covenant was now out of date. So believers need
to stand firm in their faith, hanging on to everything that had come to
them through Jesus.
The author makes the case for all this by using a specific literary form.
The book of Hebrews consists of four messages, much like ones given in
a Jewish synagogue. In fact, the author calls the book an “exhortation”—
the same Greek term used for the “word of encouragement” given by
Paul and Barnabas in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia.
In this form, the speaker would first bring a teaching from the Scriptures and then apply it to the present-day situation of the listeners. So
Hebrews alternates back and forth four times between teaching and
application, first explaining truths about Jesus from the Scriptures and
then urging the people to respond to these truths.
Since the recipients were familiar with the Scriptures and traditions
of Israel, the author’s message presents four key themes, each built on
a Jewish tradition.
• God’s Son is greater than the angels and the messages they
delivered—the laws of the old covenant (pp. 369-371).
• Jesus is God’s greatest messenger, superior even to Moses and
Joshua, and he offers an even greater rest and peace than they
offered (pp. 371-373).
• Jesus is our true High Priest, superior even to Aaron and his
priestly family (pp. 373-381).
• The followers of Jesus must be faithful just as God’s people of old
were faithful, even in the face of suffering (pp. 382-385).
These messages were collected and then sent out like a letter. So
Hebrews ends the way any ancient letter would: with personal news,
greetings, and information about when the sender next hopes to see
the recipients. Of course, the sender also hopes that when that time
arrives the recipients will all still be following Jesus together, “proclaiming our allegiance to his name.”