Friday, June 26, 2009

Going Deeper (Week 3)

Going Deeper (Week 3 Day 2)
Verses 5 to 9 may be divided roughly into two parts: (1) an introduction followed by the quotation of Psalm 8:4 – 6 (vv. 5 – 8a), and (2) an interpretation of the psalm’s meaning (vv. 8b – 9). Again, there is a chiastic arrangement from verse 6 as the author states the quote and he interprets it in a reverse manner. Can you identify it?

A God’s grace to man (mindful and care for man, v6)
B Jesus’ humility & glory (made him a little lower than angels… crowned him with glory and honor, v7)
C Christ’s victory (put everything under his feet, v8a)
C’ Christ’s victory (left nothing that is not subject to him, v8b)
B’ Jesus’ humility & glory (made him a little lower than angels…crowned him with glory and honor, v9a)
A’ God’s grace to man (suffer death for everyone, v9b)

Some extra thoughts
The highlight of this section is found at the centre of this Chiastic structure: Christ’s victory. This seems to be overly triumphant view, implying we as Christian can also have victories like Christ. But the following phrase at the end of verse 8 (v8c) gives us the balance perspective of our understanding of victory in Christ: “Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.” This is by no mean that Christian can have no victory at the present, it is only not everything we are having victory.

Therefore, our response should be not giving up praying for victory in life; pray for the sick, pray for deliverance, and pray for breakthrough. Though not everything we can see immediate result, we can be sure for two things: 1) we will surely have God’s victory in the end, and 2) there are still many things we will see victory over.

Going Deeper (Week 3 Day 3)
The author of Hebrews uses these two messianic passages (Ps. 22:22 and Isa. 8:17b – 18) in verses 12 and 13. There are actually three key reasons which help the author highlight the work of Christ in light of early Christian messianic interpretation.
Can you identify the three reasons?

1) to support the close family relationship established between the Son and the people of God;
2) referring Jesus as the Son’s living with God’s people.
3) to speak of the Son’s suffering as well as his posture of trust toward the Father.

Some extra thoughts
I am in favor that these two quotations are to help us to realize that we have a Messiah who understands us, with us and knows God. The author of Hebrew is probably building up to the truth of Suffering Christ or A High Priest who understands. These are important ground work for the author to lay before he plunges deep into these topics later in is message or letter.

Isn’t it comforting to know that we are not studying about a God who is unreachable, or too mysterious to be understood, or merely an object of worship? Jesus Christ is real, lives among you and I today, He is personal, He is closed beside you and I, and most importantly, He understands our struggles and able to eradicate it by dying on the Cross. He is both powerful and loving.

Going Deeper (Week 3 Day 4)
In the final two verses of this passage, the author sets up an effective transition to the central section of Hebrews on Jesus’ high priesthood, beginning with 4:14 and running through 10:25. Hebrews 2:17 – 18 shares no fewer than eight words or phrases with 4:14 – 5:3. Through these concepts the preacher introduces an expansion on his reasons for the Incarnation built around the high priest motif, which he expounds in 4:14 – 10:25. The Son had to become human because high priests are taken from among human beings (see 5:1), and he had to become a high priest in order to offer the ultimate sacrifice for sins (2:17).

Can you list down the list of words or phrases in 2:17-18 which will also be found in 4:14-5:3?

“Word/Phrase” (2:17-18 / 4:14-5:3)
“high priest” (2:17 / 4:14; 5:1)
“sin” (2:17 / 4:15; 5:1,3)
“merciful/mercy” (2:17 / 4:16)
“tempted” (2:18 / 4:15)
“help” (2:18 / 4:16)
“in service (matters related) to God” (2:17 / 5:1)
“the people” (2:17 / 5:3)
“he had to/he has to” - the obligation to do something (2:17 / 5:3)

Some extra thoughts
Watch out for how all these themes are being developed and explained in the later part of this letter. Maybe before we encounter these topics again, what is your understanding of these terms? What does high priest means to you? How about your understanding of sin? Journal them down, and as you study His word, may the Holy Spirit opens you mind, enlightens your heart and empowers you with strength to live in accordance to His word in Spirit.


1 comment:

Sze Zeng said...

Hi, interesting chiastic reading.