An Open Table where Love knows no borders

One Comment

  1. Vincent Michael Hodge

    Pastor Rachael Tan provided us with a clearly themed sermon. Focus upon Jesus and the other major hurdles become more easily borne. Rachael provided a clear line of thought but more thankfully she spoke with not only conviction but a keenness and joy of voice that made listening to her a pleasure. I am much more interested in the Book of Hebrews now than was the case before the sermon. So thank you very much. Thanks also to Nathan for having the network to bring you to our attention.
    My only additional comment adds little to the spirit of the teaching behind the chapter. However the reading and therefore the sermon was tightly focused upon the opening verses of the chapter with of course reference back to Chapter 11. I would add that sometimes, and maybe even most times, it is worth looking at the whole chapter for the complete depth behind those opening verses.
    Now i am absolutely no Greek scholar. I am armed only with Google and the Greek text. What that allows is to notice that in the Greek KJV there are certain words that are repeated or which have double meanings. This is visually apparent when even a non Greek scholar looks. In the English translations of our bibles we have different words whereas the Greek uses a common word stem. hence we miss the poetry and repetition- probably applied in original times as most people were not literate and hence the culture of communication was oral. So signposting with repetition was a powerful way of making a point.
    Now in Chapter 12 it is abundantly obvious in a Greek text that the author was making certain opposites for memory : the clouds of witnesses “encompassed” the hearer just as the habit of Sin “encompassed” the sinner. One we must live with and one we must live without. The word for ‘discipline” in Greek is ‘paideia” and that discipline is what a father does for a Son. In Greek the word paideia not only means “discipline but also a “child”. hence the play on words. Most importantly that expression ” cloud of witnesses” reminds me of the “cloud” from the Exodus and wandering in the wilderness. Also the theophany to Mose on Mt Sinai was accompanied by thunder, lightning and cloud. A tremendously reverential and powerful display. therefore the author of Hebrews has put Sinai as the great comparison in Chapter 12 – the Covenant of Moses and its distance from God and the Covenant with Jesus and the closeness of the man Jesus – running the race as we all know human life to be. As Rachael discussed the Book of Hebrews places before us the powerful characters listed in chapter 11 coming to perfection in Jesus as the new “cloud” of witness and power. this is contrasted over against the fear and trembling in the Sinai Covenant. No longer is there the temple Worship with its mysterious “holy of holies”. We have Jesus as the new Holy of Holies ‘ who has made us one with him and we are the now living temples as the stones of the new covenant. Finally the word ‘endurance” in Hebrews 12. “Hupermones” is a Greek word for perseverance and endurance that is repeated not just in Hebrews but we find it in many of Paul’s Letters. Obviously as Hebrews 12:1-3: is at pains to encourage us to endurance so too the major texts of the NT also repeat that theme. There are other word plays – ‘despise” is literally ‘ to look at downwards” Jesus despised suffering and shame from the cross. he looked down on them as the executioners looked down on Jesus, albeit from below. The Cross is a Greek word for ‘standing pole”. The clinging sin of Hebrews 1-2 is also in Greek a thing that stands against us. Jesus Cross is the upright that leads to righteousness while sin is the stand over thing that “takes us down”.
    Anyway enough of my wordplays. Rachael and her concise and easy delivery has perhaps more to give us in what we need to think about!

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