THINK: Remember when you were a kid - during the first few years of school - you might have looked forward to "show and tell," when you could bring a favorite thing from home and tell the class all about it. It was likely a proud moment for you, and hopefully informative for others. These times helped everyone get to know each other just a little better. Actually, people never outgrow the tendency to learn best about others by what they see and hear from them directly. That's part of why God chose to reveal himself to us through His Word and ultimately by His Son, who is the living Word (John 1:1) - God in human form. He came to clearly show and tell us the way to God. And because He did, we not only know about God, we can know Him personally.
RESPOND: What do we have today as a result of God speaking "through the prophets at many times and in vari- ous ways'? (See 1:1 note.) How did Jesus fulfill or complete God's message to humankind? What does the open- ing of Hebrews reveal about the nature, character, power and authority of Jesus Christ? (See 1:3 first note.) What are the implications of Jesus as "the exact representation of [God's] being" (v. 3)? What did Jesus do after He had paid the price and provided the means for us to be cleansed from sin? (See 1:3 second note.) Why does the author emphasize Jesus' authority above the angels (vv. 5-14) as well as above the prophets? (See 1:4 note.) In what ways is Jesus superior to the angels? What does it mean that Jesus is God's "firstborn" (v. 6)? (See 1 Corinthians 1:15 note.) What evidence do we see from Jesus' life of how He "loved righteousness and hated wickedness"? (See 1:9 note.) How should God's people follow Jesus' example in this way? How can we grow in love for righteousness and hatred of wickedness? (See 1:9 note, sub point 2.) What do verses 10-12 clearly indicate about Jesus? (See 1:10 note.)
PRAY: Take time to worship Jesus for who He is - the all-powerful son of God, the Creator of the universe, the eternal King with authority over all. Ask Jesus to give you His love for what's right and His hatred for evil.
ACT: Make a conscious effort to do the right thing in all situations. In the process, avoid and reject attitudes and behaviors in your own life that would compromise with wickedness. While this means using discretion in relationships, a hatred for wickedness also means reaching out with compassion to those who are deceived and caught up in ungodly lifestyles. If you have time later, review the chart of Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Christ, p. 794.
THINK: As chapters 1 and 2 point out, Jesus came to earth as God in human form. He did so to relate, rescue and restore to us the opportunity to know God. And because God devised a way to relate directly to us, we now can relate personally to Him. Because He took our punishment for sin, we can live with His power over sin. Because He is holy, we can be made holy - like Him. This is often an uncomfortable, even painful process. Living a God-honoring life in a God-defying world often brings suffering. But that's one way we develop Christlike character.
RESPOND: Why must we "pay more careful attention...to what we have heard" (v. 1) regarding the message of Jesus? (See 2:1-3 note.) What can happen if we become careless in our relationship with God? How can you guard against this in your own life? What do you think it means to "ignore such a great salvation" (v. 3), and why is this so serious? In what ways did God confirm His message of salvation to us? (See 2:3 note.) Why is it not fully apparent in the world that everything is under Jesus' authority? (See 2:8 note.) What does it mean that Christ tasted death for everyone? (See 2:9 note.) To whom is God's forgiveness available? Who actually receives the benefits of that forgive- ness? (See note.) What does it mean that Jesus was made "perfect through suffering" (v. 10)? Does this mean that Jesus wasn't morally or spiritually perfect already? Why or why not? (See 2:10 note.) Who is "the one who makes men holy" and who are "those who are made holy"? (See 2:11 note.) What does it mean to be holy? Why did Jesus share our humanity? (See 2:14 note; cf. vv. 17-18.) Who are "Abraham's descendants"? (See 2:16 note.) What are the implica- tions of Jesus as "a merciful and faithful high priest"? (See 2:17 note.) What does it mean that Jesus made "atonement for the sins of the people" (v. 17)? Why and how is Jesus able to help "those who are being tempted"? (See 2:18 note.)
PRAY: Thank Jesus for becoming human so as to rescue us from sin and destroy the devil's work. Thank Jesus for the powerful works that accompany salvation, including the gifts of the Spirit and help in overcoming temptation.
ACT: If in any way you've become spiritually careless or neglected your relationship with Jesus - by lack of time with Him, service for Him, or obedience to His Word - pick up the slack and revive your devotion to Christ in attitude and action.