Built to last.
That is the quality that drew Phil and me to the home our family has lived in for 14 years and counting. When we walked in and looked around, we could tell it was built to last. There were colors on the walls we did not love, there were dated features throughout, but it was built to last. Our realtor spoke of the builder as being someone known for quality work who had built many homes in our neighborhood. In speaking with the neighbors, they agreed, the builder does work with care and integrity. Because of the builder, the house is strong.
In this passage we are reminded that the builder of all things is God. It is by God’s hand that the world and everything in it is created and sustained. Jesus is the head of the house of which we all are part. The house referred to in this passage is not a physical building, of course, but the household of believers, people of faith.
You notice references to Moses in this passage. He is a figure who would have been understood as the greatest of men by the Jewish listeners and readers of this text, and using Moses as a comparison, the author firmly establishes Christ’s place as the highest priest. While acknowledging Moses’ faith and greatness, and without diminishing him at all, the author is clear in pointing out that Christ is superior, even to Moses. Moses was faithful in obedience to God; Jesus Christ is God, the Son. Moses helped lead the faithful; Jesus Christ is the one in whom our faith rests. Moses was a model member of God’s house; Jesus Christ is head of the house, God’s Son. And we are the house, created by God and united in Christ.
What does it mean to you to be part of such a diverse household, the household of faith? What do you desire from this household, and what time and talents can you, or do you, contribute to it?
– Betsy Aho
- Written by Betsy Aho
- Created: March 03, 2017
That’s how this chapter opens. We are reminded of the relevance of God’s message, as revealed through Jesus Christ, and instructed to stay focused on the greatness of what is offered through God without straying.
Most Bibles have headings before each section of text. The Bibles I looked at have this section labeled as, “Warning to Pay Attention,” or something similar. These headings are not part of the original text but are added by the publisher. And, while sometimes helpful, I think that in this case the heading is misleading. The first verse and a half sound a bit like a warning, but the rest of this passage is more a celebration of God’s redemption as declared by Jesus Christ, perpetuated by those who heard Jesus, and validated by the distribution of gifts of the Holy Spirit.
What strikes me in this brief passage (besides that it is not so much a warning but an affirmation) is that the author acknowledges the importance of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and humanity when speaking of salvation! We often think of salvation as being wrapped up completely in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. While this is not an incorrect understanding, the author of Hebrews broadens the scope and invites us to stretch our thinking as well.
This passage opens with a reminder to hold fast to the message of justice and salvation, then quickly reminds us that justice and salvation can be best understood when we recognize the work of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and recognize the gifts bestowed upon humanity as well.
As you read this passage, I encourage you to think about how you understand salvation and redemption, and to reflect on what gifts the Holy Spirit has gifted to you? How do you use those gifts to move toward redemption in the world?