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man rests his head back December 22 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading: Hebrews 1:1- 4:13

Finding Rest

After weeks or even a day of holiday stress, we all need rest, don't we? We also need a rest for our souls. Many are searching for meaning this Christmas and have not found it. Are peace and rest found in Christmas decorations and angels? No, true rest is found in Jesus Christ (more...).

In the first century A.D., Jewish Christians were being influenced by Gnosticism, a special “knowing” or revelation of angels and a return to the Jewish Law and its traditions. Like Colossians, the book of Hebrews, with its uncertain authorship, was likely a response to this cult. Indeed, it was a treatise proving that only in Christ could they find rest. Friends, it is only in Christ that we can find rest.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12, NIV)

Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11, NIV)

Why is Jesus Christ superior to every other belief?

First, Christ is superior to the Biblical prophets. Prophets delivered God’s messages in Old Testament times, but now God speaks through his Son, Jesus Christ. He was with God the Father, and he created the heavens and the earth and everything in them. He is not just another prophet; as the obedient Son of God, Jesus is the heir of all things in heaven and earth.

Second, Christ is superior to angels. As in that day, there is a lot of veneration of angels in our day. The writer of Hebrews, however, said the ministry of angels is to worship Christ, that they are his servants, and they are sent to serve those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:6-7,14, NIV). It is true that Christ was made a little lower than the angels so that he might die for every man and give him the opportunity for salvation, but now Christ sits at the right hand of God (a special position of favor) and will some day rule and reign, unlike angels. Because the Son of God is superior to angels, “we must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away… How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:1,3a, NIV).

Third, Christ’s message is authoritative. “This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will,” (Hebrews 2:3b-4, NIV).

The Jewish Christians were suffering for their faith and were tempted to return to the ways of Judaism. Perhaps, we also are suffering. What encouragement was there (and is there) to stay faithful? Jesus suffered on the cross. Jesus was also tempted. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted,” (Hebrews 2:18, NIV). We need to fix our eyes on Jesus, not on our circumstances.

Fourth, Jesus Christ was greater than Moses. Moses and Abraham and King David were Jewish heroes. Moses led the Israelites in victory after victory. He gave them the laws of God; he supervised the building of the tabernacle (a portable worship center) in the wilderness; he led them to the Promised Land of Canaan (now Israel and Jordan).Through Moses came the sacrificial system and the feasts, which became ritual traditions in Israel. Moses was a faithful servant in God’s house (in the building of the tabernacle and his various responsibilities as a leader over the nation). Jesus being God, however, means that he was the builder of everything. Christ was not just a servant in God’s house; he is a faithful Son over God’s house (everything God has made).

The Jews in Moses’ day wandered around in the wilderness for forty years. They could not enter into their rest in Canaan because they did not trust God to help them fight against the giants in the land. The writer of Hebrews therefore warned the current Jewish believers,

See to it, brothers [in Christ], that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness, (Hebrews 3:12-13, NIV).

To unbelievers (particularly Jews but by principle also non-Jewish people), the writer of Hebrews warns readers, “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest [heaven] still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it,” (Hebrews 4:1, NIV). In other words, do not harden your hearts as the Israelites did in the desert and miss your promised land - heaven. “I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation,” (2 Corinthians 6:2b, NIV). Don’t wait. Don’t scorn God’s grace. God knows our hearts. He knows whether we are truly His (Hebrews 4:12-13). We need to believe God will give us salvation from sin if we trust only in his Son for our salvation. We need to believe in God’s way of salvation to be admitted to heaven, our Promised Land. (more...)

Christians, do not let the stress of the holidays make you lose focus on the reason for the season - Jesus. True rest is found in him. Take some time daily to read the Bible, pray and worship him. Be thankful for all that you have in him and you will not be tempted to look elsewhere for your peace.

Lessons to live by:

  • True rest for your soul is found in Jesus
  • Christ is superior to prophets, angels, and Moses. He is God the Son, the creator of all things, and he inherits the right to rule and reign from his Father. Because of this we can have confidence that we are following the right person.
  • If you are a non-believer, religion and its ceremonies and traditions or your heritage cannot save you. This is your time to believe in God’s way of salvation. You need a relationship with him through Christ to be admitted to heaven, your rest. (more...)
  • Christians, be thankful for all you have in Christ. Rest in him.

Today’s Bible memory verses: “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience,” (Hebrews 4:11, NIV).

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