In our reading of Hebrews we find that the writer is convincing the Jewish believers to stay the course. He uses the Old Testament understanding of sacrificial Law and the Greater provision found in Christ Jesus.
Jesus is the Greater High Priest; after the “Order of Melchizedek” , the one whom Abraham gave homage and tithe too. In that Abraham gave tithe to Melchizedek, while Levi was still in His loins so to speak, reveals that Abraham was lesser than This High Priest and King of Salem. Just as Melchizedek did not have a beginning or end, even so Jesus Was in the beginning and will be in the end. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the first & Last. To return back to the Levitical Law/Priesthood, would be returning to a lesser Priesthood.
Jesus was a greater High Priest, in that He didn’t have to offer a blood sacrifice for His sins, before entering in the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifice for the people. Also Jesus was a Greater, better sacrifice, in that He did not have to repeat His sacrifice, in that His blood was greater for His blood Cleansed sin, not just covered.
The work of Jesus was based on a Better Covenant. Better Promises were the result. The Old Covenant, was conditional on the actions of the Israelites; we have a New covenant ]written in our hearts] based upon unconditional love.
Jesus has a greater ministry – for His ministry was not bound to earth like the Priests on earth [whose ministry was but a shadow of things in Heaven], whereas Jesus ministry was just that the ministry in, to and of Heaven.
Hebrews 10:19; the Therefore; since all these things are true, what manner of people should we be? We should “draw near” with a confidence and boldness to the Throne of God in prayer; we should “Hold Fast the confession of hope;”finally we should “consider how to stimulate each other” towards love and good deeds.
It is odd that the “Light affliction” was causing them to want to go backwards; especially in light of Hebrews 10:32-35. The had already endured suffering, public spectacle, reproaches and tribulations. They had partnered with others who were going through hardship as well. Chapter 11 is a wonderful passage; it gives a short historical narrative about those who had gone before and had endured “through faith” the adversity and tribulation which accompanies the Gospel when lived out. When I read Hebrews 11:32-40; I get emotional; for those who lived not their own lives for the furtherance of the Gospel; enduring great human atrocities, yet did not waiver. We hear of persecution today in other parts of the world; we pray for them, but also pray we won’t have to go through such things. How very selfish and cowardly we are!
Hebrews 12:4-6 and James 1:2-4 explains the reason we have tribulations in our lives. Will we let the “perfecting of our faith” be accomplished? Will we let the Father “prune” us for greater fruit for the Kingdom of God, or will we like many fall away from the “real living of the Christian life?”
Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 12:9 ff, that he would rather boast about his weakness, that the Glory of God would dwell in Him.
May we say as Paul, “Phil 3:10 -11, that I may know Him and the fellowship of His suffering being conformed to His death, that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead!”