Hebrews, how I love thee.
Hebrews has been my favorite book since I was a teenager. This is such a rich book with so much to say about atonement and Christology. I think the author of Hebrews goes to great lengths to display both Jesus’ divinity and his humanity. However, while the author clearly supports the dual nature of Jesus, she seems to go into more detail about the importance of Jesus’ humanity, perhaps because the audience was already sold on the divinity of Jesus, or because Paul had written enough about it already. Whatever the reason, the author of Hebrews thoroughly displays Jesus’ human side, but it’s hard to overlook how some of the most profound words about Christ’s divinity open up the letter. I think it is interesting that the author opens up Hebrews with such a profound statements about Jesus, (1:3) but then doesn’t go much further to support the divine nature of Jesus. Rather, the author goes on to compare Jesus to other human figures like Moses.
Clearly, the divine nature of Jesus is important to the author if Hebrews, but it is also so incredible how the author makes statements like that in 2:18. So, all together, Jesus is the exact representation of God, but He also suffered temptation like we do? How could this not be one of your favorite letters in the Bible?
This is also my favorite book because of what it says about the nature of the atonement. I was uncomfortable with Penal-Substitution for a long time, then I read some stuff by Tony Jones and René Girard that made much sense out of the idea of priestly sacrifice and a non-violent view of the atonement. I think Jones and Girard would both say that Hebrews is an excellent contribution to the conversation about atonement and sacrifice. Instead of describing a God who demands sacrifice to forgive sins, Hebrews explains how the sacrificial system never worked in the first place, humans cannot cover their sins with more death and blood. Instead of Jesus shedding the necessary blood, He instead offers Himself to prove that the sacrificial system doesn’t work. He puts an end to the sacrificial system like in a way that only He can do, in a way that only God Himself can do.