“November 4–10. Hebrews 1–6: ‘Jesus Christ, ‘the Author of Eternal Salvation’’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“November 4–10. Hebrews 1–6,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
We all have to give up something in order to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ—whether that be bad habits, incorrect beliefs, unwholesome associations, or something else. For Gentiles, conversion often meant abandoning false gods. For the Hebrews (Jews), however, conversion proved to be, if not more difficult, a little more complicated. After all, their cherished beliefs and traditions were rooted in the worship of the true God and the teachings of His prophets, extending back thousands of years. Yet the Apostles taught that the law of Moses had been fulfilled in Jesus Christ and that a higher law was now the standard for believers. Would accepting Christianity mean that the Hebrews must give up their earlier beliefs and history? The Epistle to the Hebrews sought to help settle such questions by teaching that the law of Moses, the prophets, and the ordinances are all important, but Jesus Christ is greater (see Hebrews 1:1–4; 3:1–6; 7:23–28). In fact, all these things point to and testify of Christ as the Son of God and the promised Messiah the Jews had been waiting for. The message for the Hebrews, and for all of us, is that sometimes we must give up traditions to make Jesus Christ the center of our worship and our lives—for it is through Christ “that we may obtain mercy” (Hebrews 4:16).
Some scholars have questioned whether Paul wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews. The literary style of Hebrews is somewhat different from Paul’s other letters, and the earliest versions of the text did not name an author. However, because the ideas expressed in Hebrews are consistent with Paul’s other teachings, Latter-day Saints, in keeping with Christian tradition, have generally accepted that Paul was at least involved in writing this epistle.
See also Bible Dictionary, “Pauline Epistles.”
Many Jews found it difficult to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God. The Epistle to the Hebrews teaches that everything about Jesus testifies of and exemplifies His Father. As you read the first five chapters of Hebrews, you might keep a list of Jesus Christ’s titles, roles, attributes, and works you find mentioned. What do these things teach you about the Savior? What do they teach you about Heavenly Father?
What does the following statement from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland add to your understanding of the teachings in these chapters? “Jesus … came to improve man’s view of God and to plead with them to love their Heavenly Father as He has always and will always love them. … So feeding the hungry, healing the sick, rebuking hypocrisy, pleading for faith—this was Christ showing us the way of the Father” (“The Grandeur of God,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 72).
Do you feel that you can “come boldly unto the throne of grace” and seek mercy? (Hebrews 4:16). One message of the Epistle to the Hebrews is that despite our sins and weaknesses, God is approachable and His grace is attainable. What do you find in Hebrews 2:9–18; 4:12–16; 5:7–8 that strengthens your confidence that Jesus Christ will help you with your mortal challenges? Consider recording in a journal your thoughts and feelings about what the Savior has done for you.
Even though they had been converted to Christianity, some of the Jewish Saints found it difficult to fully accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and its blessings. By retelling the story of the ancient Israelites, Paul hoped to persuade the Jews to avoid the mistake their ancestors made—rejecting God’s blessings because of unbelief. (You can read the story Paul alluded to in Numbers 14:1–12, 26–35.)
Consider how Hebrews 3:7–4:11 might apply to you. To do this, you might ponder questions like these:
How did the Israelites provoke the Lord? (see Hebrews 3:8–11). What are the consequences of having a hard heart?
When have I allowed my heart to become hardened? Are there any blessings God wants to give me that I am not receiving because of a lack of faith?
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
In what ways has Jesus shown that He loves righteousness and hates iniquity? If we have unrighteous desires, what can we do to change them?
Can you think of an object lesson to help your family understand what it means to keep a firm hold on the gospel truths “which we have heard”? You might illustrate this with an object that is hard to hold onto. How are our efforts to maintain our testimony like catching and holding this object? How can we make sure “the things which we have heard” do not “slip” away from us? (verse 1).
To explore the phrase “captain of their salvation,” you could begin by discussing what a captain is. What does a captain do? How is Jesus Christ like a captain for us and our salvation?
These verses can help you have a discussion about what it means to be called of God to hold the priesthood or to fulfill other Church callings by someone who has authority. What can we learn from the example of Jesus Christ about receiving and fulfilling callings?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.