The true identity of the author of Hebrews is unknown. I could spend a lot of time explaining the different ideas and the theories as to who the author may be, but it would most likely prove fruitless. Some believe the author was Paul, some say Barnabas, and various others, but in the end of the matter, this book was inspired by God and ultimately He is the true author.
The audience of Hebrews was made up mainly of Jewish converts who were under intense pressure to mix the practice of the law and the principles of grace into a more palatable form of religion for the times. This audience was persecuted by Rome and by the Jewish hierarchy, some of which had a growing fascination with angels and demons. Amidst all of this, the author felt it was important that they realize that regardless of the persecution and pressure to change or evolve into a new religious species, they needed to remember who it was that actually redeemed them and set them free from being eternally separated from God. The author wanted his readers to remember that Jesus had set them free, and He is, and always has been, greater than any person, profit, priest, precept, persecution, or problem. Jesus was and is simply greater. That is why this series of devotions and sermons are entitled “Greater”. The audience of Hebrews was contemplating, or may already have, given up on or stepped away from their faith. That’s why it was so urgent that they receive the important faith building teachings within this letter.
Today, Christ followers and unbelievers alike have a great many distractions to deal with daily. We are bombarded with the temptation to defect from our faith and join in on a movement that believes in everything and yet stands for nothing. There is still a fascination for the supernatural and paranormal. There is still the idea that religious intellectualism and idealism are more important that being spiritual and personal with God. Some of you may be a little disappointed about the fact that some of the same people who raise their hands in church, or at Christian concerts, are the very people leading the charge in church gossip, persecution, and division. Some may feel abandoned by your church and maybe even a little abandoned by God Himself.
Take courage, one thing has not changed. Jesus is still greater. He is greater than all of our modern temptations, trials, technology, and troubles. He is still the answer to that deep personal yearning for more that resides in all of us, whether we believe or not. He is still loving and accepting of everyone, even when church people are not. It is only when we focus our attention on Jesus and His word that we can find the comfort, consistency, and confidence required to sing “It is well with my soul” or “The Stand” and actually mean it.
1. In what areas in your life do you feel discouraged and disconnected from God?
2. If you only had time for one conversation with God, what would the topic be?
3. Read chapters one and two of Hebrews. In what ways does the author explain that Jesus is greater than your discouragement?