I’m not sure we should think of “The Letter to the Hebrews” as a letter at all. It lacks the usual opening greetings and thanksgivings of a letter. In fact, it doesn’t even identify its recipients. The designation “Hebrews” was added later, though most would agree it rightly identifies its original audience as Jewish Christians. While we cannot be sure of their location, there is evidence that suggests Rome. The author, also unidentified in the text, calls his work “a word of exhortation.” Though it does not open like a letter, it does end like one. What we have is like a sermon in written form.
The author encourages faith in and faithfulness to Jesus by holding him up as High Priest and mediator of a better covenant. Using many Old Testament texts to prove the superiority of Jesus and his new covenant, the author encourages early Jewish believers to remain steadfast in their Christian faith in spite of the dangers and pressures that might tempt them to return to Judaism. Readers today are still moved to worship Jesus, God’s Son and our High Priest, and to persevere even in the face of hardships as they read about Jesus fulfilling the Old Covenant’s promises and how the New Covenant supersedes the Old.
Please join us as we study Hebrews together, Sunday mornings at 10 AM, that your faith in Jesus might be strengthened and that you would be encouraged to walk faithfully in this world.