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Hebrews 3:1 says “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.” This verse first reminds us that we Christians are holy brothers and sisters who are part of the heavenly calling. Please read 1 Timothy 6: 11-12 regarding of our calling. “But you, man of God,… pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…」(1 Timothy 6:11-12 NIV)
God has a purpose of calling us. It’s important for believers to first pursue Christlike character such as righteousness, godliness, love and gentleness. In a sense, it is natural for us to pursue these because God has called us kings and priests, and with Christ to rule over all creation. In addition, we want to acknowledge that we are made holy. We learned last week that Jesus faithfully works as a high priest, and he is the one who dedicated himself through the cross and made an eternal redemption through his blood. We are kept alive in the eternal Atonement of Jesus. We are cleansed because of Jesus’ Atonement. We want to firmly hold on to this teaching. Acknowledging Jesus as our apostle in our confession of faith and our high priest, we are now challenged to fix our thoughts on his work as a high priest.
In addition, the author of the Hebrews reveals that Jesus is greater than Moses in comparison with Moses. In that context, the author states that Jesus is raising and leading the church, just as Moses led the Israelites. Let’s take a look at that part. Hebrews 3:3 says, “Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses…” Moses is one of the greatest leaders in the Old Testament. In verse five, it says, “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future.” Moses was a vessel of revelation of God’s will, he worked as a prophet and priest. Exodus chapter 32 describes his work as a priest before God when the people sinned against the Lord. If you are interested, please read it. The greatness of Moses has been confirmed by God himself. Please open Numbers 12: 7,8.「…he (Moses) is faithful in all my house…. he sees the form of the Lord.”」So what does it mean for Jesus to be greater than Moses? In verse three, it says, “Just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.“ Here the author is trying to reveal that Jesus is the Son of God, the creator and heir of this world, the builder and heir of his own house (God’s kingdom). The work of Moses was a testament to the coming era of New Testament, revealing that it is merely a faithful work to point to the work of Jesus. Verse 6 says, “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house.” The house of God broadly refers to the kingdom of God, and in this context it refers to the church. It continues, “And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” No matter how difficult the situation is that each one of us are facing, we need to hold on to our confidence and the hope until the end. Jesus is the Son of God. I am saved by faith in Jesus. Jesus will come back again, and he will welcome me into heaven. This confidence and hope are our hope that we hold on to, and that overcomes our challenges.
Hebrews 3:13 continues, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Keeping faith alone is not an easy task. It is important for Christians to encourage each other. Like the Israelites who were freed from Egyptian slavery, they harden their hearts (8), their hearts were always going astray(10), and became unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God(verse 12), we also tend to make the same mistakes. It is necessary for us to encourage each other every day so as not to leave God. Hebrews 10: 24-25 encourages us,「And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—…」Even if today is a day of trials or a day of blessings, we are advised to remember to get together and encourage each other. In this COVID situation, it has become more difficult to get together. However, it is still possible to encourage each other in various ways, such as by letter, email, or phone call. Remembering that a High Priest, Jesus is praying for us, we also want to be the ones who pray and encourage others. The theme of today’s message was to fix our thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. Jesus, who gave a faith into our hearts, is our high priest. I want to learn from Jesus to encourage others with a message of hope, and help each other to stay together in faith. In verse fourteen, it says, “We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.」(Hebrews 3:14 NIV)
Those who come to share in Christ are those who stand with Christ (1: 9), and they inherit the kingdom of God (Ephesians 5: 5). We also want to encourage each other and inherit the kingdom together.