Hebrews 13:22 says Friends, please take what I’ve written most seriously. I’ve kept this as brief as possible; I haven’t piled on a lot of extras.(Message Bible) I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation(NLT) But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.(NASB)
It is to the last chapter of this book that we look to find out why the author wrote this book. While it says “brief” we need to note that this book was written to the Jews and most at that time would be comparing the length to some of the Old Testament books among other writings of their time. To me the book of Jude in the New Testament is what I call “brief” as it has 25 verses and only one chapter….It’s like a postcard message verses a letter.
If you have ever entered into a conversation with people talking intensely and passionately about a topic you know very little about….the debate type of conversations or perhaps the drama emotion driven conversations….that same feeling is what I had when for weeks we studied this book in class….My intense desire to interrupt Biblical text to say, “OK I get it, can we move on?” Well the truth is I probably didn’t get it…I didn’t grow up in a rules driven family and to be honest it was probably too free/liberal for my own good. I don’t know what it’s like to live by the letter of the law or under strict rules. Rules are ment to guide and bring freedom when used in a healthy way. I suspect most people have been wounded by the letter of the law rather than guided into green pastures by a loving gracious Shepherd.
So in a nut shell this is what Hebrews brings to us like no other book in the Bible: The assurance that we have a High Priest(Jesus) who is “touched with the feeling of our weaknesses”, who lives to fill in the gap & bridge the divisions that exist on our behalf….and is “the mediator of a new and better covenant”
A note on the word “exhortation”: From Charles Stanley “Are you concerned about correcting error wherever and whenever you find it? Do you care deeply that those who are about to make mistakes avoid them, and that those who have made mistakes repent of their ways and return to a walk of righteousness before God?” This is what the writer of Hebrews is attempting to do. This is similar to when you have your Mom tell you to wear a coat or put on a hat when going outside in the cold.
A note on the word “covenant”: Some think of this word as an agreement, or promise. Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant, and that the Blood of Christ shed at His crucififixionis the required blood of the covenant. As with all covenants between God and man described in the Bible, the New Covenant is considered “a bond in blood sovereignly administered by God.” (from The Christ of The Covenant by O Palmer Robertson). To understand the seriousness of this word from the author’s view, I would liken it to a biblical marriage which is a covenant between one man and one woman for life.