Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hebrews 13:9-16

9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Questions to consider:

  • Relate verse 8 to verse 9.
  • What truths, does the author claim, are opposed to the strange teachings?
  • To what extent do you identify with Christ? Why?
  • What is your response to abuse and intellectual opposition?
  • What are the suitable sacrifices and offerings to God? In what ways will you “make” them today?

Possibilities for prayer:

The understanding of “sacrifices” as doing good and sharing with others is one that may have been unfamiliar for the Hebrews. Sacrifices to God involved the ritual killing and offering of animals in order to atone for sins. But here, we are asked not to make sacrifices of burnt offerings but of choosing to live lives that reflect pieces of the character of God. Today, let’s thank God for the ability to offer these “new” sacrifices instead of the old ones, and ask for the courage to live the type of lives that God is calling us into.