February 22: The First Sunday in Lent

February 16, 2015

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 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. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 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 3:1-6

The original audience of the book/sermon of Hebrews were very early Jewish Christians in Rome. They had left Judaism, for which Rome felt ambivalence, and come to the light of Christ, for which Rome felt horrible and increasing disdain. They were probably thinking something like, “Shouldn’t we just go back to Judaism and live our best life now?” The writer of this book is letting them know in the passage above that what they came from (Moses) was not to be despised, but it also was never the destination. Jesus is the destination.

Notice how he says that Moses worked as a servant for God’s house. Moses matters. There is something good to say about Moses; there is something good to say about the law; there is something good to say about Israel BC. But make no mistake, while Moses matters, Jesus matters even more; Moses was a true servant of God, but Jesus is God’s son. We don’t diminish Moses by proclaiming that Jesus is superior to him. Instead, we put Moses and the law in their rightful place, doing what they were designed to do.

The writer to the Hebrews, like the Apostle Paul, doesn’t think of “God’s house” as the temple. They had the idea of the true “house” not as a building of bricks and mortar, but as a community of people, the church. These are the people the passage above says who “hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” We aren’t mealy-mouthed because Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son, and he has counted us as the children of that house. And that’s the gospel!

Come hear it preached and enacted in the Supper this Sunday!

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