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Hebrews 3





As I have said in the previous two devotionals on this book, the overarching theme of Hebrews is Jesus is better.  The chapter before us today takes on the fact that Jesus is better than Moses.  That doesn’t mean Moses is bad.  It simply means Jesus is better.

From our perspective that probably doesn’t elicit much of a response from us.  We undoubtedly know that Moses was an important figure not only in the Old Testament but also throughout history.  We would also undoubtedly know that as important as he was, he didn’t measure up to Jesus’ standards.

First century Jewish believers would have known that as well. At least, they would have kind of known that.  From their Jewish heritage, Moses was perhaps one of the two most important men in the Jewish religion.  The other one would have had to have been Abraham.  So, this assertion that Jesus is better than Moses would have been startling to many.

As the chapter opens the writer refers to His Jewish audience as holy brothers.  This tells us that this chapter is written with believers in mind.  They (we) are told to consider, to think about Jesus.  And then Jesus is referred to as an apostle.  He is not an apostle in terms of men like Paul or Peter or John were apostles.  The word apostle simply means “one sent”.  The apostolic ministry was the concept of one being sent with a particular message.  In that context Jesus was obviously “One sent”.  “God sent His Son” to us.  And Jesus came to us with the message of the Gospel. 

He is also our High Priest.  In the Old Testament, Moses was the prophet.  His brother, Aaron, was the High Priest.  Both of those offices and subsequent responsibilities were fulfilled by Jesus. 

In verses 3-6 we read about a house.  This probably should not be taken literally.  Moses was responsible for the household of faith (the Jewish people) in the Pentateuch.  That was a most important responsibility.  But Jesus, who is better, was the One who created that house or household of faith. 

In verses 7-11, the writer quotes Psalm 95:7-11.  This Psalm captures the sad truth that the Jewish people had a really hard time staying faithful.  They had a tendency to wander away from God.  And wandering away from God almost always results in a hardening of the heart of the wanderer.  As hearts are hardened, the wandering tends to increase to the point that the wanderer loses sight of how God says we are supposed to live.  The result, in verse 11, is “not entering My rest”.  That doesn’t mean they ceased to be God’s chosen people.  It simply means the privilege of entering into the Promised Land was taken away as punishment for their continued disobedience.

In verse 12, we are warned not to follow that same path.  The concept of “turning away” or “falling away” does not refer to rejection but to rebellion.  This is not a rejection of who God is but a rebellion to who God is.  It is the result of the pattern we just saw in the above Psalm.

Part of the solution to this problem is consistent encouragement from others to stay close to God.  The Christian life cannot be lived in isolation or solitude.  It can only be lived in community.  It is in the context of Biblical community that we find the encouragement and the exhortation to stay true to the One who saved us.

Hebrews 2



TUESDAY, October 6


The concept of Jesus is Better continues in this chapter.  The first comparison that is made is between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.  The second comparison actually picks up the comparison at the end of chapter one: Jesus is better than the angels.

As the chapter opens we are exhorted to pay attention to the message of the New Covenant so that we don’t drift away from it.  This doesn’t mean we can drift away from or lose our salvation.  But it does mean if we not intentional about staying focused on the Gospel, we can drift away from the powerful truths that make up that message.

Verse 2 is about the Old Covenant or the Law.  Although we don’t read about angelic involvement in the giving of the Law in the Book of Exodus.  Stephen spoke about it (Acts 7:38), Paul wrote about it (Galatians 3:19), and the traditions of Judaism supported it.  The point here is not to prove angelic involvement but to remind the readers that every transgression of the Old Testament Law had a penalty and/or punishment attached to it which included animal sacrifices, restitution, excommunication and even death. 

If that is true about the Old Testament Law then we should be even more careful with the Gospel.  In verse 3, the idea of neglecting or ignoring is actually a reference to “being careless with”.  In other words, if you reject the Gospel, there is a greater and eternal punishment that accompanies such rejection.

As the writer continues he takes the possibility of ignorance out of the equation.  People can’t say they didn’t know.  Here’s why.  The end of verse 3 speaks to the fact that Jesus proclaimed the Gospel and the original disciples and followers communicated it.  Verse 4 adds that God proved the Gospel by signs and wonders and miracles.

As we get to verse 5, we are reminded that God did not put the angels in charge of what is to come.  In the Greek it is obvious that this is a reference to the future Millennial Kingdom. This verse reminds us that Jesus will be the undisputed King of that kingdom.

In verses 6-8, the writer reminds us of Psalm 8:5-7.  Verse 7 here speaks of the Son of Man (Jesus) being made “for a little while lower than the angels”.  This is a reference to Jesus’ incarnation.  When He came in the flesh, He emptied Himself of His divine glory and much of His divine privilege (Philippians 2:6-8).  But that was just during His incarnation.  At His glorification, Jesus resumed all of His divine glory, His divine privilege, and His divine position.

Verse 8 tells us that part of this resulted in everything being in subjection to Jesus.  Everything is in His control.  Then the Bible makes a most interesting statement: “At present we don’t see everything in subjection to Him”.  This points to the fact that there are many who have rejected Jesus and His rule deciding instead to live how they want to.  As a result, sin and its impact continue to grow.  But never doubt that Jesus is in control of everything and there is a day coming that He will totally exercise that control.

In verse 10, we are reminded that as a result of our new birth and subsequent adoption, we are children of God and a brother/sister to Jesus.  He is obviously our big brother and stands exponentially above us but we are, nevertheless, the children of God.  The reason this brotherhood exists is (verse 17) Jesus became one of us which was necessary if He were going to be our propitiation or atonement or the “absorber of God’s wrath” on our sin for our benefit.  No angel could have ever accomplished that. Only Jesus, the Son of Man, could do that.

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