Life Lessons from Hebrews: The Incomparable Christ

Life Lessons from Hebrews: The Incomparable Christ

by Max Lucado

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Overview

The Jewish believers were torn between their new faith in Jesus and their old ways rooted in Old Testament routines and rituals. They were tempted to go back to their familiar life that seemed "good enough." But the author of Hebrews shows that when Jesus came, "the best got better." He skillfully compares these believers' old ways and their new faith, arguing that Christ is better in every way. He focuses on Jesus, his effective ministry, and his ultimate sacrifice, showing us that absolutely nothing compares to our incomparable Christ.

The Life Lessons with Max Lucado series brings the Bible to life in twelve lessons filled with intriguing questions, inspirational stories, and poignant reflections to take you deeper into God's Word. Each lesson includes an opening reflection, background information, an excerpt of the text (from the New International and New King James versions), exploration questions, inspirational thoughts from Max, and a closing takeaway for further reflection. The Life Lessons series is ideal for use in both a small-group setting or for individual study.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310086598
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 11/27/2018
Series: Life Lessons
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 549,979
File size: 964 KB

About the Author

Since entering the ministry in 1978, Max Lucado has served churches in Miami, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and San Antonio, Texas. He currently serves as teaching minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. He is America’s bestselling inspirational author with more than 130 million books in print.

Follow his website at MaxLucado.com

Facebook.com/MaxLucado

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Twitter.com/MaxLucado

 

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

JESUS UNDERSTANDS US

For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Hebrews 2:18 NKJV

REFLECTION

All of encounter pain and disappointments at some point in our lives. Some of these last for a brief time, while others stay with us for lifetime. Think for a moment about how you cope with difficulties. Where do you usually turn for comfort when you are hurting?

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SITUATION

The writer of Hebrews wanted to highlight the uniqueness of Christ. From the first sentence of his letter to the last, he presents Jesus as the final word from God and reveals how he is superior everything else. The author begins by showing how Jesus is higher than the angels. At the time in Jewish culture there was a great fascination with angels, but the author wants to make it clear these heavenly beings pale in comparison to God's Son. The writer's point is not to disparage angels but demonstrate the surpassing greatness of Christ and his effective ministry on behalf of those he came to save.

OBSERVATION

Read Hebrews 2:10–18 from the New International Version or the New King James Version.

New International Version

10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12 He says,

"I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises."

13 And again,

"I will put my trust in him."

And again he says,

"Here am I, and the children God has given me."

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

New King James Version

10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:

"I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You."

13 And again:

"I will put My trust in Him."

And again:

"Here am I and the children whom God has given Me."

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

EXPLORATION

1. According to this passage, why did God allow his Son to suffer?

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2. How does Jesus see those who choose to put their faith in him?

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3. What effect did Jesus' victory over death have on Satan?

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4. What can free people from their fear of death?

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5. Why did Jesus have to come to this world in human form?

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6. In what ways is Jesus able to help you because of what he endured on this earth?

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INSPIRATION

Abandon. Such a haunting word.

On the edge of the small town sits a decrepit house. Weeds higher than the porch. Boarded windows and a screen door bouncing in the wind. To the front gate is nailed a sign: Abandoned. No one wants the place. Even the poor and desperate pass it by.

A social worker appears at the door of an orphanage. In her big hand is the small dirty one of a six-year-old girl. As the adults speak, the wide eyes of the child explore the office of the director. She hears the worker whisper, "Abandoned. She was abandoned."

An elderly woman in a convalescent home rocks alone in her room on Christmas. No cards, no calls, no carols.

A young wife discovers romantic e-mails sent by her husband to another woman.

After thirty years on the factory line, a worker finds a termination notice taped to his locker.

Abandoned by family. Abandoned by a spouse. Abandoned by big business.

But nothing compares to being abandoned by God.

"From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?") (Matthew 27:45–46).

By the time Christ screams these words, he has hung on the cross for six hours. Around nine o'clock in the morning, he stumbled to the cleft of Skull Hill. A soldier pressed a knee on his forearm and drove a spike through one hand, then the other, then both feet. As the Romans lifted the cross, they unwittingly placed Christ in the very position in which he came to die — between man and God.

A priest on his own altar. (From Next Door Savior by Max Lucado.)

REACTION

7. What experiences in your life comes to mind when you hear the word abandoned?

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8. How was the suffering Jesus faced on the cross greater than any trials you will face?

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9. How does it help when you feel abandoned to know that Jesus can relate to you?

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10. How should you as a believer respond to the pain that comes your way?

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11. How has knowing Jesus increased your sensitivity to and compassion for others?

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12. What can you do to show God's love to someone who is hurting?

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LIFE LESSONS

One of the times we tend to feel alone is when we are facing temptation. It's common for us to think our struggle is unique and that we are all alone. But this passage in Hebrews reminds us that Jesus knows what we face. He "gets" it. He has faced the same temptations. He knows our situation — and he understands. He wants to help. Will you let him?

DEVOTION

Jesus, we stand in awe of what you have done for us. You left your throne to live among us; you faced temptation, ridicule, and shame so you could understand us; and then you died on a cross to save us from our sins. You gave up everything so we could spend eternity with you. Help us to grasp the depth of your love — and to share that love with others.

JOURNALING

How has Jesus shown his love for you? How can you thank him today for his love?

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FOR FURTHER READING

To complete the book of Hebrews during this twelve-part study, read Hebrews 1:1–2:18. For more Bible passages about Jesus' ability to help hurting people, read Job 36:15; Psalms 46:1; 121:1–2; 147:1–5; Isaiah 41:10; 53:3–5; and Romans 8:26–27.

CHAPTER 2

KEEP THE FAITH

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily.

Hebrews 3:12–13

REFLECTION

Think about a time when a Christian friend encouraged you in your faith. What was your situation at the time? What specific actions or statements did the person use to help you? What have been the long-term results in your life of that person's ministry?

SITUATION

The author of Hebrews, having shown why Jesus is superior to the angels, now explores why Jesus is superior to the kings, priests, leaders, and prophets of the Old Testament. He begins with Moses — the giver of God's Law — who in the hierarchy of heroes in Israel's history had no equal. To the Jewish people, Moses exhibited every aspect of strong spiritual and moral leadership. He had led the people out of Egypt, provided guidance from God in the midst of their bickering and complaining, and had continued to lead them even after they rebelled against God and were forced to wander in the wilderness. It is an impressive résumé — and yet the writer of Hebrews says Moses was nothing compared to Jesus. Furthermore, just as Christ was faithful to God's purposes, so should we — his followers — keep the faith to the end.

OBSERVATION

Read Hebrews 3:1–14 from the New International Version or the New King James Version.

New International Version

1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 "Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house," bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God's house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

"Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.' 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'"

12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 12 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called "Today," so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.

New King James Version

1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. 3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. 5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:

"Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. 10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, 'They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.' 11 So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'"

12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 12 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.

EXPLORATION

1. What does it mean to "fix your thoughts on Jesus" (verse 1)?

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2. Why is Jesus worthy of greater honor than Moses?

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3. How can you demonstrate that you belong in "God's house"?

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4. What warning does the Holy Spirit give to you in this passage?

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5. Why do some people turn away from God?

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6. What practical advice does this passage offer on remaining faithful to God?

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INSPIRATION

God invites us to enter Canaan. There is only one condition. We must turn our backs on the wilderness. Just as Canaan represents the victorious Christian life, the wilderness represents the defeated Christian life. In the desert the Hebrew people were liberated from Egyptian bondage, but you wouldn't have known it by listening to them. ...

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Life Lessons from Hebrews"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Max Lucado.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

How to Study the Bible, v,
Introduction to the Book of Hebrews, ix,
Lesson 1 Jesus Understands Us (Hebrews 2:10–18), 1,
Lesson 2 Keep the Faith (Hebrews 3:1–14), 11,
Lesson 3 God's Rest (Hebrews 4:1–11), 21,
Lesson 4 Jesus, Our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14–5:10), 31,
Lesson 5 Perseverance (Hebrews 6:7–20), 41,
Lesson 6 God Forgives and Forgets (Hebrews 8:1–13), 51,
Lesson 7 The Ultimate Sacrifice (Hebrews 9:11–28), 61,
Lesson 8 Confidence in Christ (Hebrews 10:19–39), 71,
Lesson 9 Faith in God's Promises (Hebrews 11:1–16), 81,
Lesson 10 Suffering Serves a Purpose (Hebrews 12:1–11), 91,
Lesson 11 The Fear of the Lord (Hebrews 12:12–29), 101,
Lesson 12 Serving Others (Hebrews 13:1–16), 111,
Leader's Guide for Small Groups, 121,

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