1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. 3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. (ESV)
Heaven Bound; Consider Jesus (Hebrews 3, Part 1)
A magnificent picture of a future hope: This is what the author of Hebrews paints for his readers in the first two chapters of the book. At the very start of chapter three the author briefly summarizes this hope, as a platform for the exhortation to ponder Jesus.
The believing recipients, the author says, are holy–set apart and sacred to God. Jesus has provided purification for their sins (1:3) and sanctified those God has called (2:11). Being thus set apart to God, they are also brothers with one another (3:1), and with Jesus (2:11).
They have also been called to heaven. The author later points out that this awesome truth has in the past been the foundation for otherwise senseless sacrifice (e.g. 10:34, 11:16). They are called to God in his glory (2:10), where Christ is now seated (1:3, 13), and to a future reign on Christ’s behalf (2:5, 8). The grandeur of this calling caused the writer to pause with David in wonder (2:6-8). “… what is man that you are mindful of him”.
These wonderful truths provide the basis for the exhortation that we see in verse 1 of chapter three: ‘therefore … consider Jesus’. We are especially to observe Jesus’ faithfulness, even to death (2:14-18), in fulfilling the task to which God appointed him (that we may likewise be faithful to our calling). The exhortation is not given to them as a burden. You have been set apart – consider the king who called you, consider his faithfulness–and then do likewise!
But don’t do it alone; do it as brothers and sisters in God’s family. Remember that the exhortations here and also later to come (e.g. 2:12-13) are to be received and obeyed as a family: brothers and sisters in Christ. You are set apart together to obey.
(This was originally posted on the Biblearc blog by Robert Elphick on June 4, 2015.)
Our Heritage and Hope (Hebrews 3, Part 2)
Last month my high school classmates came together to mark the 25th year since our high school graduation. How time has flown! Unfortunately, living on the other side of the globe, I couldn’t make it. Such reunions are obviously an opportunity to catch up with friends with whom we have shared formative years, but I wonder if for some there is also an attraction in being part of something bigger than oneself, such as a school with an honored tradition.
Is the author of Hebrews telling his recipients, a small and persecuted gathering (10:32-33), that they are part of an honoured tradition? Not of some prestigious Roman academy, but of something infinitely greater: they are, by grace, part of God’s household.
The household into which they have been called is not something new. It has members from as far back as Moses–that same esteemed Moses who faithfully led God’s people in the wilderness (2b). It is by grace that they are a part, but there is a condition: that we hold fast our confidence and boasting in our hope (v6). Membership in this house is tied to ongoing urgent dependance on and boasting in Christ, who is our hope.
God is calling his people to himself through the completed work of his Son. His people endure in hope, holding fast in a concrete knowledge of the Son. They are confident in him; he is their sufficient redeemer and merciful sustainer (2:16-17), such that they boast in him.
(This was originally posted on the Biblearc blog by Robert Elphick on June 11, 2015.)