May 1st, 2016
Unlike many other New Testament writings, the book of Hebrews is not linked to any particular writer by name. Hebrews really reads more like a written sermon than a first-century letter. The book focuses more on encouraging persecuted Jewish Christians not to abandon the church to return to their family ties in Judaism.
Probably written during the Roman emperor Domitian’s reign, apparently a number of house church members were feeling dejected and defeated about their faith. The writer’s admonitions to these believers to persevere and renew their commitments continue to inspire us today. Hebrews frames the solution personally by centering first-century challenges in the solution offered through the person of Jesus Christ, giving them confidence to “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” (10:22).
Sometimes we’re tempted to idealize the ancient church. Instead, Hebrews reveals an imperfect church comprised of vulnerable followers in need of assurance. Perhaps we’re more like those first-century Hebrew Christians than we care to admit!
Author: Jay Richard Akkerman