Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CONSIDER JESUS (Hebrews Chapter 3)

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

In his book, “God’s Last Word to Man,” G. Campbell Morgan wrote of the tremendous importance of the Book of Hebrews, saying, “The letter of Hebrews has an especial value today because there is abroad a very widespread conception of Christ which is lower than that of the New Testament.”  So, in the letter, the author speaks of the superiority of Christ with respect to: the prophets (Cf. Hebrews 1:1-3), the angels (Cf. Hebrews 1:4-2:18), Moses (Cf. Hebrews 3:1-4:2), Joshua (Cf. Hebrews 5:3-13), the levitical priesthood (Hebrews 4:14-7:28), and the old covenant (Cf. Hebrews 8:1-10:39). 

John MacArthur has commented on this “better” theme: “In this epistle, contrast reigns.  Everything presented is presented as better: a better hope, a better testament, a better promise, a better sacrifice, a better substance, a better country, a better resurrection, a better everything.  Jesus Christ is presented as the supreme best.”

According to this theme, we are exhorted to “consider Jesus” (Hebrew 3:1).  In similar manner we are called upon to “consider him” in Hebrews 12:3.  Two different Greek terms are translated “consider” in these two verses.  The first, in Hebrews 3:1, means “to understand fully, consider closely” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary).  It is a call by the author for us to fully comprehend the truth regarding who Jesus is.  The second, in Hebrews 12:3, is a strengthened form of a term meaning to account or reckon.  In that verse it speaks of the need to take into account our own endurance in suffering in relationship to the example of Jesus.  The first usage of the term has to do with the person of Jesus, the second HIs work.

To consider Jesus is to consider Him who is of immeasurable glory.  What will serve to instruct us in the truth concerning Him?  The Holy Spirit’s is a “consider Jesus” ministry.  He is even now at work convicting the world “concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (Cf. John 16:8).  Such a work is necessary because Jesus is no longer present with us (Cf. John 16:8).  It is the Spirit who opens blind eyes to behold “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (Cf. 2 Corinthians 4:6).  His ministry to the saints is also a “consider Jesus” ministry, in which He glorifies Jesus and discloses Him to us (Cf. John 16:12-15).

The Word of God bids us to “consider Jesus.”  The Bible is all about Him.  The law promised Christ.  The types, experiences, and prophecies of the Old Testament anticipated His coming.  The gospels recorded the details of His life and ministry.  The book of Acts records the details of the birth of HIs church.  The epistles address His Church.  The Book of Revelation speaks to His future unveiling.  Jesus chided the Pharisees, saying, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 6:39; Cf. Luke 24:27).  The Bible is all about Jesus.  The words “Consider Jesus” would well serve as a fitting subtitle for it.

The Apostle Peter’s first sermon, to those who had crucified their Messiah, was a “consider Jesus” sermon.  And the people responded to it.  The Apostle Paul’s ministry was a “consider Jesus” ministry—“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).  I’ve heard of a pulpit inscribed with this reminder—“We would see Jesus.”  Those who preach and teach God’s Word need to do so in a “consider Jesus” manner.

Two particular aspects of His personhood are spoken of in this verse.  He is both “the apostle and high priest of our confession” (Cf. Hebrews 3:1).  He is called an apostle, but He is unlike any other apostle.  The term apostle means simply “one sent forth.”  Jesus is the Heaven-sent-forth Son of God (Cf. Hebrews 1:1-3; John 17:3).  He is the high priest.  There were other high priests, but none like Jesus.  A high priest is one who represents men to God.  Other high priests were merely human and needed to offer up sacrifices both for themselves and then others (Cf. Hebrews 7:27).  But Jesus, the God-man, made a sacrifice “once for all when he offered up himself” (Cf. Hebrews 7:27).  On this basis is able to “save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him” (Cf. Hebrews 7:25).

Consider Jesus.  There is no one else like Him.  He represents the sole means of salvation for lost sinners (Cf. John 14:6; Acts 4:12).  He alone can satisfy our deepest needs and desires.  One day every knee shall bow before Him and every tongue confess Him as Lord (Cf. Philippians 2:9-10).  None but Jesus is more deserving of your consideration.

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