Begin this session by reading Scripture and answering questions to reflect on the selected Bible verses.
The Catholic Epistles (or General Epistles) include the books of Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John, and Jude. The term “catholic” does not refer to a specific denomination, but means “one” or “universal,” which simply
means that these epistles can be read by many different people in many various settings.
God was active in the past, through the prophets, the Mosaic covenant, and the system of sacrifice. God is also active and present today through Christ. The author in Hebrews compared our new high priest, Christ, with the old high priest. Christ is a high priest who is not overcome or burdened by sin, so He does not have to offer sacrifices for His own sins, but only for us. The old covenant was based on flawed and limited sacrifices given by flawed and limited people. The old covenant is not bad, but the new law is better.
Hebrews describes faith not as hope, but as a sense of certainty. Although we have no guarantee that God will be faithful, and have no way to prove what will happen in the future, we can live our lives in faith because of how we have seen God work in the past. Hebrews gives us examples of people who had such faith, both in good times and bad.
Knowing the superiority of Christ, and what faith is, Hebrews calls us to have an unshakable faith in the superiority of Christ in order to withstand persecution.
Why is it so important to affirm the supremacy of Christ? Do you think it is just about affirming the right idea, or do you think it has more practical implications?
Do you have faith or hope in God? What do you think has to happen in your life to encourage confidence in Christ the way Hebrews speaks of it?
Recalling Hebrews 11, why do you think it is easy to speak about great things that followers of God can accomplish through faith? Why do you think it is easy to avoid talking about how faith helps people who suffer and endure great persecution?
Most of us will never truly suffer for our faith because the reality of suffering and dying for being a Christian will not be part of our lives. How does knowing about the suffering of the early church and what they faced every day affect how you live out your faith?