A Bible Lesson on Hebrews 4:14-16 and 6:13-20

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright 2000; 2001, by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The previous ARP lesson concerned warnings/admonitions given by the writer of Hebrews to not turn back from faith in Christ to Judaism in the face of persecution and difficulty. This lesson is comprised of two short passages that approach this situation from another direction. They give encouragement/assurances to those suffering believers as means of strengthening their resolve to stand fast. The first concerns the nature of our Priest.

Hebrews 4:14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

A priest represents one to God and represents God to one. Jesus is this amazing person who is both fully God and fully man. How else could a priest be a perfect intermediary except in this way … but then who could have ever seen it coming?!? There’s a Man in heaven who, being a man, can perfectly represent us to God, and being God can perfectly represent God to us. He’s passed through heaven to the right hand of the Father. If He wasn’t man, how could humanity be sure that our weakness is understood? If He wasn’t God, what good would it do us to have just another just like ourselves representing us? What could you bring to God on my behalf, or me to God on your behalf? That would do us no good at all! I might as well be my own priest as to rely upon you and vice versa. And gut level we know that to be utterly hopeless. We need a perfect One to stand for us. And the wonder of it is that God in Christ has given us exactly that!

So the first assurance of this lesson is the wonder of this unique Savior Priest. His nature gives us reason to hold fast. Having once understood who He is and what He’s done, His absolutely unique person and nature, the hearer of this letter ought to “hold fast” and “with confidence draw near” and “receive mercy and grace in time of need.” There’s help in persecution and all the difficult stuff of life. And really, where else is there to turn? Do we want to go it alone or with the mercy of the only One who could help?

Now we jump to Chapter 6.

Hebrews 6:13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,

14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.”

15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.

16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.

17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,

18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

The God of the Bible, the only true God, is a Maker and Keeper of promises. He made promises to humanity beginning in the Garden of Eden and notably to Abraham, fundamentally concerning Messiah, a Savior. He made the promises and the argument of the writer is that He even went so far as to guarantee them with an oath. The reference is to Genesis 22:16 and the instance of God’s promise-making to Abraham after Abraham had been willing to sacrifice Isaac and trust Him in spite of the apparent command to essentially kill the promise in the person of his Isaac. The reader of Hebrews can take heart and carry on, because God doubly makes and keeps His promises. (He makes them and then swears to them.) The reader of the letter has a fixed point in all difficulty.

19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,

20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

Again, it is a wonderful and astonishing thing that Christ is eternal Priest on your behalf and mine. That’s consistent with the promises of God. The writer would have his readers persevere because of the nature of Christ, and His sure promises. There is warning to keep on. There are also these wonderful assurances of God’s good intentions toward His people. Thanks be to God.

Here is a .pdf of this lesson.

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright 2000; 2001, by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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