The Book of Hebrews is a strange book.
Hebrews has intimidated readers over the centuries. It expects a knowledge of the Old Testament that many do not have. It seems to have a negative view of the Old Testament (see Heb 10). It gives six terrifying warnings that seem to indicate believers can lose their salvation. We don’t even know who wrote it!
How Is Hebrews Relevant For Today?
If the recipients of Hebrews were in danger of (re)turning to a Judaism without Christ, could such a historically-specific message be relevant for Christians today? In Christ Above All, Adrio König reveals the supremacy of Christ over all substitutes.
As Adrio König says in Christ Above All, “At the heart of Hebrews is a magnificent view of Jesus, a view that you do not want to miss out on.” Once we grasp this, Hebrews becomes deeply relevant.
König goes on to trace out its application for modern Christians:
Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world today, a fact that many in the West find hard to take seriously. In such contexts it will be tempting to abandon the faith and submit to cultural pressures, a context to which Hebrews speaks with exceptional power. In the West it is tempting for many to drift slowly away from Christ into the easy, everything-gives consumerism of our day. Again, Hebrews speaks to this situation.
To all of us Hebrews continues to speak in so many ways.
First, it speaks because of the wonderful picture we have of the glorious Lord and Savior we serve. How great he is!
Second, it helps us formulate our positions against the theologians who want to “demote” Christ and see in him only a “good person.” Doing this breaks our link with the apostles and the early Christians What we need today is not a demotion of Christ but rather an elevation up to the level of Hebrews.
Third, the emphasis on Christ’s meekness and humanity assures us that he knows our tears and sorrows, our weaknesses and troubles, that in fact he has himself experienced all these and so he both can and will care for us.
Fourth, it enables us to develop a refined view of the meaning of the Old Testament. Hebrews refers back to the Old Testament more than any other book in the New Testament, and it does so in a very clear way. We learn that Christ is more—much, much more—than anyone and anything in the Old Testament but also that the Old Testament still has meaning for us today.
Finally, it will be a tremendous guide for those who return to Old Testament practices like the feasts, the Sabbath, the trumpet, the obligation to use only the Hebrew names of God and Jesus.
For all its complexity, the main theme of Hebrews is easy to grasp: Christ is above all.
This post is adapted from Christ Above All: The Book of Hebrews by Adrio König (Lexham Press, 2019).