Consider Jesus – Our Great Salvation

Reflection

In these two passages Hebrew 2:5-18 and Hebrew 3:1-6, the author of the Hebrews presses on his audience to consider (katanoēsate) Jesus and the work he accomplished to become our great salvation. Asking us to ponder on Him who is greater than Moses. The author is once again reading between the lines in Psalms 8 to help us understand this “son of man” or specifically the unique son of man whose work gains for us our great salvation.

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Jesus superior to Angels and a warning

Reflection

The verses in Hebrews 1:5-2:4 carry on the Hebrews’ theme, Jesus is better. Here the author leads us to the idea that Jesus is better than angels. The topic of angels in the western culture is either a confusing idea of cute or interesting creatures or a general unbelief in the supernatural. The Bible can clarify what these beings are and their role in this world. Hebrews author quotes several passages to show the superiority of Jesus over angels. The author takes on the topic of drifting away from “such a great salvation.” Just like physical life, spiritual life needs explicit efforts from falling ill and loosing God given gift of life.

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God has spoken through Jesus

Reflection

Hebrews 1:1-3 was our passage for discussion (two sermons from Pastor Jeff). The deity of Christ gives us assurance that Christ work is unlike any other as it is the final sacrifice restoring mankind to God. The key phrase was “After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Jesus’ work is finished, he is seated down, unlike the Jewish priests, including the High Priest, his work is done once and for all. Jewish Christians can rejoice that their salvation is final and complete. The very first verse of Hebrews laid out that God who spoke to use through the nature, law, prophets has decreed that his final word to us is the Son of God himself. God’s Son is the full revelation of God, there is nothing more of God that can be learnt than what you can by learning of Jesus Christ.

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Intro to Hebrews – 2

Reflection:

Much like Paul’s Epistles, Hebrews has a “Dogma” section (Christian belief) followed by an application section “Pragma” on how we live because of what we believe. Just like Jewish Christians, we can also burnout if we do the right things for the wrong reason or without clear reason. The author of Hebrews here is urging people with a number of “let us” invitations. The audience, Jewish Christians, started well (Heb 6:10), but now face discouragement, trials, perhaps social isolation and other pressures of daily life. The part-2 of our study focuses on these encouragements which urges believers with both warnings and encouragements.

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Intro to Hebrews – 1

The book of Hebrews is written to a Jewish believers who have stepped out of Judaism into Christianity. The book is to an exhortation asking Jewish believers to endure persecution and walk by faith with fellow believers. This appeal is based on the superiority of Christ – the head figure for the Christian believer. The keyword that you find in Hebrews is “better”

The author of this book is unknown – suggestions include Luke, Clement of Rome, Apollos, Silvanus (Silas), Phillip and finally Priscilla. The time of Hebrews is likely A.D. 64-68.

Focus GreaterChrist’s PersonChrist’s WorkThe Christian’s walk
Verse 1:1 – 4:134:14 – 10:1810:19-13:25
TopicsMajesty of Christ over
Prophets | Angels | Moses
Ministry of Christ superior in
Priesthood | Covenant | Sacrifice
Call of Faith
Assurance|Endurance|Fellowship
Hebrews Summary

Christ is greater in his person over:
[Prophets] 1:1,2 => In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

[Angels] 1:6-8 => And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.

[Moses] 3:3 => Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.

Christ is greater in His ministry over:
[Jewish High Priest] 4:14,15 => Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

New priest according to promise and not geneology 5:5-6 => In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son;   today I have become your Father. 6 And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” 6:20 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

[Covenant] 8:8-13 => “The days are coming, declares the Lord,  when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds  and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.11 No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. => “quoting from Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Greek

[Sacrifice] 9:13-14 => The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,so that we may serve the living God!

Psalmist’s prophecy 10:8,9 => First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. => “quoting Psalms 40:6-8”

Christian’s walk requires greater discipline and group energy (Keyword “Let us”)

[Assurance] 10:21-23 => and since we have a great priest over the house of God, .. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

11:1-3 => Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

[Endurance] 12:1-3 => Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

[Fellowship] 10:24,25 => 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

13:1,2 => Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Waking up to cuckoo’s song

At Guest house with mom

I made a recent trip to Chennai India to visit my mom who has moved to a retirement facility in YWCA. I stayed at the YWCA international guest house in the heart of Chennai close to Central station. Surprisingly a small pond and a large collection of trees and vegetation was preserved in this part of town for a restful experience. It almost quieted down the noise of the motorcycles and trucks (lorries) on the Poonamallee high road.

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All roads lead to Rome

In a rare event of presenting some of my research I ended up traveling to Rome, Italy for a conference.  The topic I was working on was bio-inspired heuristics applications in cybersecurity, specifically collective behavior of botnets.  The ANTS 2018 conference was the venue where I got to collaborate with researchers doing some advanced implementations of collective behavior both in nature and artificial systems.

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