Today we began reading the letter to the Hebrews. The author is not named, but was probably Paul who wrote it as a message to his fellow Jews. He didn’t name himself because a prejudice against him had developed and some would have ignored the letter if it had been obvious it came from him.
Paul had a special relationship with his Saviour because he appeared and spoke to him on the road to Damascus. He is wonderfully conscious of the continuing unseen presence of Christ in his life and encourages his fellow Hebrews to develop the same consciousness. He quotes many Old Testament passages from the Psalms and Moses’ writings that foretold the special and wonderful role God’s Son would have. We see the emphasis in these two chapters of how he would first come into the world to die as a once and for all sacrifice for sins and also experience life as we do and so be able to understand and help us,
We note the closing verses in chapter 2, “For surely … he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted”. The Greek word translated ‘tempted’ essentially means ‘tested’.
Yes, “he is able to help”, but we do not receive this help, this guiding oversight of our lives, unless we prayerfully seek it. Paul warns in chapter 3, quoting David’s words in Psalm 95, “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …” (verse 15). It is God’s ‘living word’ that we read and ‘hear’ – and “he is able to help” if we truly listen and respond.