Priests, walls and curtains

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Small Group Material: 
Week Commencing: 
16 Nov 2009
Bible Base: 
Hebrews 10:11-14, 19-25

Week beginning 16 November 2009
 
Priests, walls and curtains
 
1)      Reading 1  Hebrews 10:11-14, 19-25
The letter to the Hebrews is concerned to show that Jesus’ sacrifice and his priesthood is superior to the priesthood practised at the temple in Jerusalem. (But don’t forget that the Old Testament priesthood was instituted by God; Hebrews sees that as anticipating the final priesthood and final sacrifice of Christ) .
 
What is the way in which Jesus’ priesthood is superior in verses 11-14?
 
2)      The ‘curtain’ in the temple kept ordinary people out of the Holy of Holies, which symbolised the holy presence of God. Only priests were allowed in there, and only once a year on the Day of Atonement. What happened to the curtain when Jesus was crucified? What does that symbolise?
3)      What sort of things do we think might keep us from the holy presence of God?
4)      How does the writer of Hebrews help us here? (especially verse 22)
5)      What has happened in the Christian faith to barriers between us and God, and between priests and ordinary people?
6)      Reading 2 1 Peter 2:4-9
 
We are a holy priesthood. What does that mean?   (Hint: Where do priests symbolically stand?) How can we do this in practice?
 
7)      Reading 3 Ephesians 2: 11-21
 
What barriers/ walls are in Paul’s mind in this passage?
 
8)      Who in Paul’s time were ‘near’ and who were ‘far off’? Who in our time are ‘near’ and who are ‘far off’?
9)      What barriers do we make between ourselves and those outside of church?
10) What do those who are near and those who are far off have in common according to this passage?
11) What is God’s primary purpose according to this passage?
12)  What was the Temple in Jerusalem for? Where does this happen now? (see v 22).
13) Is this dwelling place for God individual or communal?
 
14) This study has been about walls being broken down. Discuss practical ways of going beyond the walls of the church here in Deepcar.
 
 
David Jeans November 200