The writer of Hebrews takes us back all the way to the first redemptive story in the bible which is the exodus and wilderness journey, and compares our lives today to the life of the Israelites as people called out for a purpose.
He’s writing to the Hebrews who were going through persecution, hardships just to be Christians; to those were in dilemma whether to go back to Judaism or to stay in Christianity. He begins by introducing to us who we are.
1. Holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling (Heb 3:1a)
“Holy brethren”. What does he mean? Holy designates something or someone set apart for God’s purpose. He was reminding them of their identity. For which purpose did God set you apart? It’s a heavenly calling, referring to the kingdom of heaven.
2. Consider Jesus, the One that will fulfil the purpose for you, with you (Heb 3:1b)
We are holy people called for a heavenly purpose but we are still lost; troubles, sicknesses and hardships still exist for us. The author of Hebrews says don’t worry, “consider Jesus, the apostle and the high priest of our confession”.
“Katanoeo” is the Greek word for Consider, it means to notice, observe, look at it in a reflective manner, think thoroughly. Really study and deeply think about this Jesus, He is apostle and high priest.
The word apostle in Greek is “apostolos”, it means the one who is sent. Jesus is the one who is sent. And the role of the high priest was to breach the gap between God and fallen mankind.
So consider Jesus, He was sent to you to bridge the gap between you and God so that you can be one with God. Jesus is sent to you to guide you and to bring you to that purpose. Jesus is with us, He’s the high priest who will atone for us, do the redeeming work and finally will bring us into His kingdom. God has chosen you and He will do it anyway. Let’s believe that.
3. Jesus vs. Moses (Heb 3:2)
Comparing Jesus and Moses – Moses was their redeemer in the exodus redemption work and the one leading them to the Promised Land,. But the writer of Hebrews is saying, Moses is a redeemer but he is only a foreshadow of the true redeemer who is Jesus Christ. And he talks about Moses being a servant of all God’s house.
Moses was part of God’s house, he was a servant of the house but Jesus is the builder of that house. Every house is built by someone but the builder of all things is God, therefore Jesus being God has greater glory than the House (Heb 3:3-4). In the Bible when you talk about building up the house, it is talking about establishing the people, a nation for the kingdom of God.
4. Today and Rest (Heb 3:7-11, Psa 95:6-11)
We are seeking for the eternal rest in the kingdom of heaven, the rest from our hardships, agony, hardships, pain, sickness and stress.
The writer of Hebrews is saying in order to enter into that rest, you need the combination of 3 things:
1. Today (Heb 1:5, 4:7, 5:5, 13:8)
2. hear God’s voice
3. do not harden your heart.
When the Word of God really spoke to your heart, that’s Today. It is the spiritual time when the Word comes to us, he says the Rest comes today if you hear His voice and do not harden your hearts. He says don’t be like the Israelites or Pharaoh who hardened their hearts. TODAY is where the spiritual gate is open to enter into rest.
Let’s think about what’s “Harden you heart” –
1) The Israelites hardened their hearts.
When our hearts become hardened, these are the things that will happen – we lose sight of our purpose, meaning we forget about our identity as people of God and lose our purpose. What happens next is: our purpose and our interest will collide with God’s, when that happens we will stand against God whether knowingly or not knowingly. That’s what happened with people at the golden calf incident. After that they will seek to return to Egypt. In order to return to Egypt, they will need another god. In order for us to give up this faith and go back to the past we will have to reject this God and make for ourselves a god.
2) Pharaoh hardened his heart after hearing the Word of God (Exo 5:1-2)
(1) Pharaoh heard the Word of God as human words, not the Word of God.
He took it lightly just like Lot’s sons-in-law (Gen 19:14). While the people of Thessalonica accepted and received the teaching of the apostles as the Word of God, that’s why they were blessed (1 Thess 2:13).
(2) Pharaoh was arrogant and thought that Egypt and everything in it was his possession (Ezek 29:3)
How many % of our life did Jesus save? Your life would have been in hell if it weren’t for Jesus. So when I come to realise that, and realise my sins are forgiven by Jesus, I should say to the Lord, “Lord this is new life that you gave me because I deserve to burn in hell because of my sin. But You gave me this life so this entire life I give to you, I live for you, with you”.
What happens if we continue to harden our heart?
1) there comes a point where we cannot un-harden our heart anymore and we continue to sin (Exo 9:34, Eph 4:18)
So we need to repent and really ask God to un-harden our hearts before it’s too late.
2) they become depraved minds (Rom 1:28)
3) heart becomes callous – given over to sensuality, impurity and greed (Eph 4:19)
But you are holy people of God, partakers of heavenly calling and we have, not Moses and Aaron, we have Jesus the Apostle and High Priest, he already died for us, He is sent to us to lead us into that Rest. Pray that you and I may experience that Rest, living with Jesus Christ, continuing in what is called Today.