Reader: “But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house.”
Response: “And we are God’s house.”
Scripture: Hebrews 3:1-6
And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger and High Priest. For he was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses served faithfully when he was entrusted with God’s entire house.
But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.
Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.
Reader: This is the word of the Lord.
Response: Thanks be to God.
As always when reading or studying a passage of Scripture, it is essential to recognize the context. Since this pericope starts with “And so,” or “Therefore,” what has preceded these paragraphs? Most of the readers were probably Jewish, but God-fearing Gentiles also worshiped with Jews in the synagogue. In the previous section, emphasis was placed on Jesus’ superiority over the angels. It is important to understand how much the Jews revered Moses. He was the greatest human being in history. He had talked with God face to face. God gave him the Ten Commandments in God’s own handwriting! He was “the friend of God.” So, in this section the writer is building his case that Jesus is superior to Moses. The “brothers and sisters” addressed here are believers, “who belong to God,” with those “called to heaven.” What often escapes us earth dwellers is that we are connected with our heavenly brothers and sisters now. When we are worshiping, we are joining with those who have gone before us now. We all make up the same family.
Having said that, as his family, we are to think carefully about Jesus, our Apostle (“messenger”) and High Priest. There is something here that continues building the premise of Jesus’ superiority over Moses. In the First Testament, Moses was the “apostle” and Aaron, his brother, the high priest. An apostle was God’s spokesman to humans and a high priest was the people’s spokesman to God. Fulfilling those roles was how Moses and Aaron functioned in leading the Israelites those years in the desert. Jesus is superior to both men, for he serves simultaneously as both Apostle and High Priest.
Carrying on, Moses faithfully served God’s entire house, that is, God’s called people, the believers. But there is a huge difference in regard to Jesus and the “entire house.”
We speak of Frank Lloyd Wright houses. Those homes are valuable and interesting because of the architect. The writer of Hebrews brings home this point. The builder is the one to be honored. God is to be honored to the uttermost. He is the builder of everything! Jesus is that builder. He is God. Moses was a faithful servant in the house, but he didn’t build it. He was a partial type of Christ as apostle and redeemer of the children of Israel from slavery.
But then something interesting happens in this passage as it concludes in the last two sentences. We move from recorded history to present day. The verbs move to present tense. Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. This includes us sitting here reading these words. This house is alive and you are part of it. As part of God’s house which is currently under construction, we continue to trust the builder. He’s the architect. He knows what he is doing. His plans are perfect. There are no “change orders.” Members of the earthbound house, our Foundation is secure and our hope is in our Builder. He will never leave this building project and will see it through to the end! He has promised. In fact, he died to get it right.
Music: “How Firm A Foundation” First Plymouth Church Lincoln, Nebraska
Prayer: O Lord God, our Father and Creator, all thy lovingkindness is in thy Son. I plead his blood to pay my debts of wrong. As you build your house, your church of which I am a part, accept his worthiness for my unworthiness, his sinlessness for my transgressions, his purity for my uncleanness, his sincerity for my guile, his truth for my deceits, his meekness for my pride, his constancy for my backslidings, his love for my enmity, his fullness for my emptiness, his faithfulness for my treachery, his obedience for my lawlessness, his glory for my shame, his devotedness for my waywardness, his holy life for my unchaste ways, his righteousness for my dead works, his death for my life. ―Valley of Vision, p. 157, adapted Daniel Sharp