Skip to content
Apr 6 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

April 5, 2020


Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession Hebrews 3:1

Intro: Is there anything in the Bible you wish were not there?

I may be hypersensitive to manipulation
– a by-product of growing up in my religious subculture
• a typical statement would be,
“If you love the Lord, then raise your hands”
◦ the peer pressure was intense
◦ what would the others think if I didn’t raise my hands?
• so whenever I hear an “if,”
◦ I assume someone is trying to coerce or manipulate me
“If you’re a good Christian boy, empty the trash”
“If you’re a real Christian, donate money to our missionaries”
◦ my immediate reaction is to resist
– there is an “if” in this passage
• so that part reminds me of my Sunday School teachers
◦ conditions are placed on me that I may not be able to meet
• however–if the Bible does give us warnings, is it wise to ignore them?
◦ our nation is right now suffering the consequences of ignoring
early warnings regarding COVID-19
◦ it is wise and safe to trust the warnings in the Book of Hebrews
(we will soon see what happened to others that ignored God’s warnings)

“Looking for treasures in the yard sale of life”

A friend once threatened to write a book with this title
– people will spend weekends combing through garage sales,
• hoping to find some overlooked or undervalued antique
– there are rich treasures in Hebrews – widows that open to Jesus
• we read in chapter 2 that we may not see world God intended,
But we see him . . ., namely Jesus
◦ and here we are told to consider Jesus
◦ the writer continues to focus our attention on Jesus
• last week, Jesus became human to take on suffering and death
◦ now the writer provides a meditation on Jesus for us to consider

Notice how we are addressed:
– “holy” – we learned last week that Jesus makes us holy (2:11)
◦ as God called Israel to be holy (Lev. 19:2)
◦ we belong to God, Jesus qualifies us for his presence
– “brothers and sisters” – Jesus forged this bond with us (Heb. 2:11)
◦ and between us and each other
◦ we have been adopted into God’s family – we belong
– “partners”
In Luke chapter 5, Jesus and Peter went fishing. Peter was certain that they were not going to catch anything, but was shocked when his net filled with so many fish they could not haul all of them on board. He needed help, so he called for his partners to come and assist them (Lk. 5:7) That is the same Greek word here that the English Standard Version translates you who share.
◦ we share in the work and the rewards
– “in a heavenly calling” – the word heavenly is not “window dressing”
◦ the writer is aware of two dimensions
one physical, the other spiritual
one is provisional, the other is ultimate
we live in both at the same time
◦ Jesus was also aware of these two dimensions
that was his message regarding the kingdom of God
and, it is why he taught, Lay up your treasures in heaven
– “calling” – an invitation, opportunity that requires response
◦ but it also refers to what we have become
◦ for instance, if by others we are called Christians (Acts 11:26)

What is it that holy people with a heavenly calling do?
– we “consider Jesus”
• to consider is to look intently – contemplate until the truth emerges
◦ as when Jesus said, Consider the lilies
◦ there is a lesson to be learned
• “the apostle,” the one sent by God with a message and an invitation
◦ “high priest,” one who acts on behalf of men in relation to God (Heb. 5:1)
◦ Jesus fills both roles:
he represents God to us and he represents us to God
• “our confession” – the truth that we admit to believing
◦ and the truth by which we live

Verses 2-4, What specifically are we supposed to consider?

Jesus’ faithfulness to God
. . . who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. 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 Hebrews 3:2-3

– the writer has compared Jesus to the prophets and the angels
• now he will compare him to Moses
• there is hardly a more important person in the Old Testament
And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt . . . and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel (De. 34:10-12)
◦ he was great not only as the law-giver and miracle worker,
◦ but also for his intimacy with God
If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD (Nu. 12:5-8)
– the writer does not a contrast between Jesus’ and Moses’ faithfulness
• rather, he draws a comparison their “glory”
• do you remember Moses’ prayer Show me your glory?
◦ I can’t read God’s self- revelation to Moses without feeling its profound effect (Ex. 33:17-18; 34:5-7)
◦ afterward,
Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (Ex. 34:29)

Paul saw this same comparison between Moses’ and Jesus’ glory
Now if the ministry of death carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? . . . For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. . . . And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another
(2 Cor. 3:7-18)
– one specific instance of Jesus’ visible glory was his Transfiguration
• the Gospel of John does not mention the Transfiguration
• however, the glory of Jesus shines all the way through; e.g., Jn. 1:14; 2:11)
– reading in John this week I cam to the passage we celebrate today as “Palm Sunday”
• like the other Gospels, Jerusalem was filled with breathless excitement
◦ the Pharisees, however, panicked
◦ to them, it looked like the whole world has gone after him
• ironically, some Greek people approached Philip and told him,
Sir, we wish to see Jesus
◦ when Philip told Jesus, the Lord said,
The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (Jn. 12:23-24)
◦ the death and resurrection of Jesus were central to his glory

The glory that Moses’ face absorbed was not his own
– it lingered for awhile and then disappeared
• the glory of Jesus is all his own, and it is permanent
He is the radiance of the glory of God (Heb. 1:3)
• now, the first comparison the writer makes is by analogy
the builder of a house has more honor than the house
◦ the house may be an architectural masterpiece
◦ but the honor for its design and construction,
goes to the architect and contractor
– then he adds a footnote
For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God Hebrews 3:4
• again in chapter 1, God created the world through Jesus
• Jesus shares God’s creative role and God’s glory
William Barclay, “Moses knew a little about God; Jesus was God.”

In verses 5-6, the writer fleshes out the comparison he has in mind

Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 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 Hebrews 3:5-6

Three facets of Moses’ faithfulness:
1. it was in God’s house
2. he was a servant (no small honor!)
3. his service had reference to the future (a revelation to come)
Three facets of Jesus’ faithfulness:
1. he is over God’s house
2. he is a son – at that time, a status slaves could never achieve
3. he is the future, now revealed

And now the writer comes back to us
– here is that conditional sentence I mentioned at the beginning
• we were warned in chapter 2 that we could drift away
• to prevent that, we have to hold fast our confidence
confidence is boldness as in Acts 4:8-12, Peter and John did not hold back when confronted by the very people who wanted Jesus crucified
boasting was a way of giving credit to sponsor and expressing gratitude
our hope – hope is what keeps us going
• Hebrews has some of the loveliest insights into hope in all the New Testament

Conclusion: We can find something useful in this passage

First, put together two thoughts, one from the beginning and the other from the end:

“Consider Jesus, our hope”

– What happens in crisis, when we forget to consider Jesus?
• we turn on each other – we become fearful and suspicious
• in the last two months, we have witnessed sad examples of ugly religion
– the worst thing about ugly religion is that it misrepresents Jesus
• we do this, not by our beliefs, but by the way we carry them
◦ our attitudes and actions, our anger and aggression
We retreat into our worldly selves while faking piety
we return to our jealousies, greed, and contempt for others
But that is not the way you learned Christ (Eph. 4:20)

We can avoid ugly religion and misrepresenting Jesus
if we remember to consider Jesus
Several times we read in scripture
that Israel forgot the LORD and forsook him
Jesus provided us with a way not to forget
I am the vine; you are the branches.
Whoever abides in me and I in him,
he it is that bears much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing (Jn. 15:5)
Consider Jesus
Abide in Jesus
His love will constrain us,
his kindness will keep us gentle
Here is the north star to guide us,
the reassurance to calm us,
the hope to inspire us:
Consider Jesus

One Comment

Leave a comment
  1. Ed Northen / Apr 8 2020

    Chuck, thank you for your insightful words. I am reading this refelxion on Passover and there are so many of your thoughts that trigger meaningful aspects of Jesus to meditated on today and as I move into the heart of holy week tomorrow, Maundy Thursday. Then journey through the days of darkness until The light of resurrection burst forth on Sunday. I am looking forward to the journey of these days. Hope your days are filled with many sacred moments that both enliven and comfort you.

Leave a comment