March 29, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
It’s Holy Week. Nearly one third of the Gospel writers’ material is focused on this single week in the life of Jesus. And appropriately so. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the centerpiece of the Good News! Jesus and his atoning work on the cross are naturally the focus of this week.
Or, are they?
In creep eggs, chocolate, bunnies, fancy dresses and suits, baskets, ham roasts, and all of the extra fixin’s of the annual holiday.
Not to mention the normal distractions of every day life… work, school, kids, sports, illnesses, ailments, relational conflicts, political unrest, social injustices, etc. The list can go on and on.
With so many important and pressing matters to give attention to, why should Jesus, and specifically his death and resurrection, be primary in our minds and hearts? Isn’t it enough to do the “Jesus bit” on Sunday mornings and get on with life?
After spending a chapter extolling the excellencies of Christ and his work, the writer of Hebrews gives a simple command to his readers, “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession” (3:1).
While rather simple this command is remarkable. Let’s “consider” three aspects that make this command remarkable.
- The Context. The letter to the Hebrews was not written in a vacuum, absent of real life circumstances. The original recipients of the letter were a group of threatened Christians. They lived in a hostile environment, where their faith and lives were at risk. They wavered in their commitment to Christ as they sought out alternatives that would draw less adverse attention. Talk about “felt needs.” These people had all kinds of pressing matters on their hearts and minds. And the writer cuts through all of that to the “one thing necessary” (cf. Lk. 10:42). This is a vital reminder to us, that no matter what is “happening” today in our lives, the command “consider Jesus” is our primary task.
- The Task. What is this task we are called to? “Consider.” It certainly is a task of the mind. We are to think about Jesus and what he has done. The writer summarizes what he unpacked in chapter 2 with two descriptor titles of Jesus: apostle and high priest. Jesus was sent by the Father to dwell among us and identify with our weaknesses. He becomes our high priest when he offers himself as the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins. Think on those realities. God has not abandoned us. God, in his mercy, has sought to provide a remedy for our desperate situation. Christ died for us. Think on that. He is the only remedy for our messed up, sin-riddled world. “Consider,” however, is more than a task of the mind. To consider is to engage the heart and affections. To treasure. To value according to one’s worth.
In the midst of turmoil, the Hebrews were commanded to set their minds and hearts on Jesus. This was not optional. This was not a task for convenient times. It is the task to sustain and help in the most inconvenient times.
- The Promise. There is a glorious promise implied in this command. Jesus is identified as “the apostle and high priest of our confession.” These are active descriptors. They highlight what Jesus has done and will do for us. He has come for us. He will come again. He brings God to us. He will bring us to God. He has made atonement for our sin. He will eradicate sin, and all of the ugliness associated with sin, one day. Our confession is our clinging to him in the hope that he will fulfill all that has been promised. These are the promises and hopes that sustain us in the midst of hardships.
I know the week is hectic, as any week tends to be. Let’s heed the call of the writer of Hebrews and “consider Jesus.” Let’s keep our primary attention on the apostle and high priest of our confession.