by Philip Layton
An expectation to move from being infant to mature believers
- Was the author more concerned about the potential unbelief of some readers or about the possibility that they were no longer even trying to understand (v 11)?
- Would you agree that the author is suggesting the need to go beyond the fundamentals of their faith (vv 12-14)?
- Would you describe your spiritual life and faith as being in infancy or as mature?
- How has your faith developed in the past year?
Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag. Don't forget this week's Children's Challenge!
Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
In this chapter the writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminds us: ‘Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God’ (v 1). The high priest did not choose himself but was selected and appointed. The writer continues: ‘He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness’ (v 2). The high priest seeks pardon for his people but also pleads for forgiveness for his own sins. It’s a valuable reminder of the vulnerability and frailty of each of us – and therefore our need for humility – however high or lowly the office we hold in the Church.
I wonder, had the writer of Hebrews previously read the writings of the apostle Paul, or did Paul read the letter to the Hebrews before writing his own letters? There are great similarities between certain passages.
Paul’s advice in his letter to the Philippians echoes the thoughts of this chapter from Hebrews: ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves’ (Philippians 2:3). It reads like an extract from ‘Orders and regulations for High Priests’!
And compare this passage from 1 Corinthians: ‘I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it’ (3:2) with these words from Hebrews: ‘You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness’ (5:12-13). Which writer came up with the metaphor first, I wonder?
The most important feature of this passage from Hebrews is the similarity drawn between the function of the high priest and Christ. This includes the fact that, just as the high priest shares the frailties and temptations of his people, so God shared them too through his incarnation in Jesus. One difference, though, has to do with time and eternity. Every earthly high priest serves only for a lifetime. Jesus is ‘a priest for ever’ (v 6).
John GowansTags: Hebrews