Hebrews addresses believers who have been on their journey of faith a long time. They have read scripture, worshiped together, endured trials and tribulations, and have kept going for the long haul. The book encourages the readers to keep up the good work, not allowing the flame which has been burning for so many years to die out. The first few verses are a fitting introduction to such a book.
To me, the first four verses of chapter 1 sound like an affirmation of faith, such as the Apostles’ Creed or Nicene Creed, that worshipers might recite during a service. In those few verses, the author describes: God’s work long ago, God’s recent work, Jesus’ nature, and Jesus’ work. This affirmation sets the framework for encouraging believers in their practice of faith.
During my two decades of ministry, I have often wondered what new thing I could say to the oldest members of the congregations I served, those who had attended week after week and listened to sermon after sermon. Now I realize that in all the challenges we experience over a lifetime, we need to hear the words of faith afresh. I am encouraged by a member of my congregation who is almost one hundred years old. She reads her devotional every day. She listens to our recorded worship services when she cannot attend in person. I can see God’s Word and work sustaining her in her daily life.
A phrase from verse 3 is especially meaningful to me: "[Christ] sustains all things by his powerful word.” In difficult times, I know my Lord sustains me and everything around me. When I pray for others or for myself, I may not know exactly what to ask of God, but I know that God will sustain us with love.
Lord, sustain me day to day with your powerful Word. This day, reveal to me your imprint and your glory in Jesus, your Word made flesh. Amen.
This week we read about Job, an upright man who faces severe trials but never loses his faith. Job’s story brings us face-to-face with the fact that living a godly life does not make us immune to suffering. Like Job, the psalmist wonders why he suffers, even though he lives according to God’s standards. Hebrews presents Jesus as the ultimate example of unwarranted suffering, yet because of his perseverance he is ultimately glorified. In Mark, some Pharisees test Jesus on the interpretation of the law concerning divorce. Jesus makes strong statements about marriage, but his larger concern is that their hearts have become hard. He contrasts them with little children, who model faith by receiving God with an open heart.
Read Job 1:1; 2:1-10. What helps you to live with integrity?
Read Psalm 26. Do you feel free in your prayer life to honestly share with God all that you are feeling?
Read Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12. In what ways does God speak to us in our day?
Read Mark 10:2-16. What qualities found in children do you try to cultivate in your spiritual life?
Respond by posting a prayer.