Revisiting Hebrews, Approaching Christmas (27 Nov 2016)

Today marks the completion of our study in the book of Hebrews [1], which we started in the first week of July.  What is it that we can remember?  Some key thoughts, as reminded by various speakers is that: Jesus is greater than the angels (Heb. 1:4,6); Jesus is greater than Moses (Heb. 3:3-5).  Jesus is greater than Joshua (Heb. 4:8.9).  Jesus is a greater priest than Aaron (Heb. 7:26-28).  As John MacArthur appropriately suggests in his introduction to the book of Hebrews, A good title for the book of Hebrews is “The Superiority of Christ” because that is its message.  Jesus Christ is superior to everything and everyone.’ [2]  How then do we respond to the One Who is Superior over all else?  One practical way is to proclaim Him the way we should this Christmas.

Yes, Christmas may be a month away, but already, everywhere, the spirit of it is evident.  Besides taking in the sights and shopping, perhaps in the run up to this Christmas, it will be appropriate for us to turn again to the book of Hebrews.   Right at the very start, the author alludes to our Christmas theme.  In verses 1 and 2 of chapter one, the author reminds us, Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son. . . .’   This is a great Christmas theme.

Yet, while it is well and good for us to celebrate Christmas, remembering the birth of our Lord, He cannot be confined to only a cute baby lying in a manger – and forever not growing up.  As has been appropriately commented by John Stott, Christians might have chosen, among other possibilities, the crib or manger in which the baby was laid as the symbol of Christianity. [3]  Instead, a cross was chosen.

The author to the book of Hebrews goes on to remind us in chapter 5:7 and 8 – In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

While the world may celebrate Christmas, they need to know that Christianity is not Santa Claus and Christmas Trees.  With one month away, let us take to heart our calling to be witnesses of Jesus, by way of taking advantage of our church’s Christmas Gospel event, inviting our friends, family members and colleagues to hear what Emmanuel means.  If our study of the book of Hebrews inspires us as to what it means to press on in our Christian faith on the one hand and to do our part for the sake of the spread of the Gospel on the other, it would have been well worth it.


Elder Richard Lai

[1] There will be a call for practical response next week with lessons learnt from the book of Hebrews.


[3] Stott, John, The Cross of Christ, InterVarsity Press (first published October 16th 1986), 2006, pg. 27.