May 1, 2016
How do you persevere in the face of all the challenges and disappointments we encounter in life? The answer is faith. But we need to truly understand what faith is—and God has given us many examples of people who are as flawed as we are, and yet stood before God in faith. If they can do it, so can we!
April 24, 2016
All of us will one day stand before God. The question is, who will he be in relation to us? It is a terrifying thing to stand before the living God—when he is our judge. Jesus gave us a way to avoid this—by accepting his forgiveness. But if we don’t persevere in our faith and reliance on him, we invite that terror.
April 17, 2016
The ways the Jews tried to please God and make up for their sin—following the Law and making sacrifice—never worked. Jesus so much greater than the Law, and his sacrifice so much greater than those offered by men, it seems ridiculous to turn back them. And yet that was a temptation for the Jewish Christians. Today, only Jesus offers forgiveness and the ability to change us. We can’t afford to turn our back on one who is so much greater!
April 10, 2016
The sacrifice is still a strange thing to us. But in the time of this letter, every culture known to the author and readers practiced animal sacrifice. They all understood how important the sacrifice was—but Jesus was a much greater sacrifice than anything any of them ever offered. Understanding this helps establish our faith in Jesus today.
April 3, 2016
A covenant is the laying out of conditions of a relationship between two people or two parties. It involves blessings if the covenant is kept—and curses if it is not. A covenant is a very serious relationship, and could only be finalized when sealed by the blood of a sacrifice. Jesus provides a better covenant between us and God—and he sealed it with his own blood.
March 27, 2016
The resurrection of Jesus is universally recognized as the point of Easter. We don’t need to debate the resurrection–it is by far the most reasonable explanation of the facts we have. But it is important for us to focus on who it was who rose from the dead. It was Jesus, of course. But who was Jesus–and who is he to us? Jesus is God who became flesh. Jesus is the King of the Universe. Jesus is the sacrifice. Jesus is the brother who opens his family to our adoption. Jesus was and is all these things and more. But which one we focus on–which one we personally turn to–is determined by which of these we most need to turn to. The focus of Easter is determined by how we see Jesus. It is essential that our view of him must be Biblically accurate. But we turn to the “Jesus” we most need at the moment, and that isn’t a bad thing. It is perhaps the reason Jesus allowed us such a broad understanding of him. This Easter will focus on our need to actually turn to Jesus and respond to him. Who are we turning to, and why? Jesus the King died for us. But Jesus the priest, the big brother, the one who opens the family of God to us, rose from the dead.
March 20, 2016
It has been established that Jesus is better than Melchizedek—and a better High Priest. We do not need other people to represent us to God—in fact, that is OUR job as people of the Kingdom to people of the world. Jesus was the perfect and only needed priest—and he still is.
March 13, 2016
The mysterious Melchizedek was legendary to the Jews. But Jesus, who shared many characteristics with this great and mysterious man, is greater. Why should we care? Because as mysterious as Melchizedek—and Jesus—are, we can trust him and rely on him.
March 6, 2016
The value of a promise is entirely dependent on who is making it. We tend to break promises. And God never made many “promises” attributed to him. We can trust God to do exactly what he promised—because of who he is.
February 28, 2016
If Jesus is better than anything the Christian Jews had—or anything available to us—turning our back on him now not only doesn’t make sense, it is disastrous. There is a point where we can no longer turn to Jesus. But as long as we are willing to repent, we are welcomed by God.