This journey we’re on, the adventure of which we are part–who is the hero of the story in which we find ourselves?
The trenchant opening of Hebrews leaves no doubt: Jesus is the focal point of the tale this writer weaves. Son of God, heir of all, agent of creation–this is the one who occupies center stage.
Readers of this book knew themselves to be enmeshed in an ancient, complex story; they knew its major turning points, and had a fair idea (or a fond hope) of how it would turn out. So much of the NT seems to upend the trajectory of that familiar tale, though, with its insistence that the center of the story–God’s work in, through, and among God’s people–deserved a different understanding from what prevailed. It was, the NT writers claimed, a story of grace and inclusion, rather than one of privilege and judgment. And its key figure was not so much a triumphant warrior as a motivated friend.
And so the writer establishes from the outset that the hero of this story is One they have known, but have perhaps misunderstood, or underestimated. And as will become clear in the telling, the story is so broad as to include each one who picks up this book to read with interest. At the same time, it is not a casual story, to be read while doing and thinking about other stuff. The narrative warrants close attention–it is, as the writer says in his conclusion, an exhortation (13:22)–and essential to living well as the journey continues and the adventure unfolds.
This marks the start of a new series for the Saturday evening post–
an ongoing interaction with Hebrews.