“Fix your eyes on Jesus!” is the central theme of the book of Hebrews. This exhortation is as relevant as ever in today’s world where expanding definitions of the gospel, as well as confusion between the law and the gospel, can cause Christians to take their eyes off Jesus and seek justification in their own works instead of Christ alone.
Hebrews is most likely a sermon given to Jewish Christians who were tempted to return to the shadows and types of the Mosaic sacrificial system. The reluctance of these believing Jews to accept that Jesus’ perfect sacrifice was not only superior but the only sufficient offering to God for sin was leading them to hope in the blood of animals that could never fully atone for their sins or satisfy God’s righteous wrath. Through Jesus, our great prophet, high priest, and king, all believers can enter into God’s presence at any time, since his shed blood has made them pure, holy, and worthy to do so.
While turning back to the sacrifice of animals was an option for Jews at the time of the writing of Hebrews, the practice has ceased since the destruction of the temple in AD 70. Yet, parallels can be found in contemporary Christian culture where expanding definitions of the gospel add believers’ works to the perfect, completed work of Christ on their behalf. The author of Hebrews focuses on the superior revelation, reconciliation, and rest found in Jesus to encourage believers to persevere in their faith, clinging to Christ alone and not to their own sacrificial offerings or any other religious system for salvation.
This study is divided into six lessons: Lesson 1 lays the groundwork with an overview of the book of Hebrews (1:1-14); Lesson 2 discusses how Jesus is greater than the angels and Moses (2:1-4:13); Lesson 3 considers Jesus’ eternal high priesthood (4:14-7:28); Lesson 4 proceeds with the superiority of the New Covenant over the Old (Mosaic) Covenant (8:1-13); Lesson 5 addresses how Jesus is the Eternal Temple and Sacrifice (9:1-28); and Lesson 6 encourages all Christians to persevere in the same faith to which all believers have clung throughout the Old Testament, namely the salvation found only in Jesus Christ (10:1-13:25).