Here is an excellent video resource for the book of Hebrews - watch this short clip for an overview of the entire book.
Hebrews reveals to us the clear purpose of the old covenant with Israel. We are told that “the law has only a shadow of the good things to come” (10:1). The Law, the Old Testament, existed to prepare us for Christ. Now that Jesus has come, he instituted a new covenant, a new structured relationship between God and mortals. “In speaking of ‘a new covenant,’ he has made the first one obsolete” (8:13).
However, while we are not bound to obey the Old Testament anymore, it is still a critical tool to interpret the work of Jesus. Without the old covenant, how would we understand what it meant that Jesus was a high priest, or that he entered the heavenly temple, or that he offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins?
Likewise, the heroes of the Old Testament remain the heroes of our faith. The list in Hebrews 11 is incredibly inspiring; and yet, we are told that we have the privilege of joining their ranks. Abraham and Sarah, Moses and David all wait for us to be made perfect! (11:39-40). What does it mean for you to aspire to the ranks of those women and men?
The author of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus’ work is not complete. He will return to judge the world and rescue his disciples (9:27-28). We are told, “our God is a consuming fire” (12:29). How do these concepts shape your understanding of Christ? Do you often think of the return of Jesus?
We begin our second Gospel next week; the Gospel of John. This book is dramatically different from Mark, yet with many parallels. In John, Jesus is much more forthright about his identity; yet like in Mark, the disciples and crowds rarely understand him.
More than any other Gospel, John emphasizes the divinity of Jesus and the extraordinary relationship between God the Father and God the Son. Look for language about that relationship as you read.
John’s writing style is typical of his time, but appears highly repetitive to our modern ears. Notice the repetition of phrases and ideas, as those come with a purpose!
Enjoy your reading!