Fix Your Thoughts on Jesus
1Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house. 3Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. 6But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ
is seated at the right hand of God.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(See Hebrews 3:1-6, Some Bible versions say "Consider" Jesus, but the title here is more accurate.)
Many Christian songs and hymns designate Jesus with beautiful names and titles:--> His Name is Wonderful, Master of Everything, Great Shepherd, Rock of All Ages, Almighty God... What are your own most vivid conceptions of Christ? - The Powerful Miracle-Worker? Teacher on the Mount? The Suffering and Crucified Servant? Our Elder Brother? A Sympathetic Listener and Helper? The King of Kings, powerfully raised and seated at God's right hand? The Bridegroom coming to commence the greatest reunion and feast of all eternity?
St. Paul advises us in several of his Bible letters to set our sights on the things above and to keep our minds on things that are pure, that we might enjoy the peace and security that comes from God in Christ (e.g., Colossians 3:1 & Philippians 4:8). The text from Hebrews says to "FIX YOUR THOUGHTS ON JESUS." It's actually stated as an imperative! We all have the need and should fix our thoughts on Him. - Several roles filled by Jesus according to the text are "Apostle," "Priest" and "Son," so let's consider those for a bit...
The Gospels recount for us how Jesus, during perhaps about the middle-third of His public ministry, gave His disciples authority to preach, power to heal and cast-out demons, and detailed instructions on how to conduct themselves. They went by teams in different directions, and, by their going out, the Lord's own ministry was multiplied. - After about a year's time when they all returned to Jesus with their exciting and adventurous reports, the Bible then identifies them with the term "Apostles."
The word means "Sent Out Ones," and we especially recognize Christ's closest followers coming to fill the role of "Apostle" after His Commission to "Go to all nations..." and Pentecost's empowering them with God's Holy Spirit. Once, having only been disciples learning from Christ, they now had greater experience, knowledge, and authority and power to take a special message to the whole world - but it wasn't their own message or agenda. Theirs was a representative Office. They were to present God and who He is and what He's like, bringing His Word and Will to touch the lives of people.
Let's fix our thoughts, then, on how such a picture and definition fit Jesus! As an Apostle Himself, Jesus is certainly unique! - HE was sent by God to present God to us, and the Book of Hebrews begins by stating that "now God has spoken to us by His Son."
The business that Jesus brought from God was to proclaim Good News to the poor and freedom to captives, and to bring sight to both the physically and spiritually blind. He came to show the God of Creation and of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the Old Testament Priests and Prophets more clearly than ever before! He is the "Sent One" whose "meat" was to do the Will of His Father the Sender, the Bible says, and who expressed it perfectly in Gethsemane's prayer:--> "Not My will, but Thine be done."
By His sacrificial death He was God's message and Will for us. That's how He's especially unique! Jesus fulfilled the supreme Apostleship by presenting the Word and Will of the Heavenly Father in His own Person and actions!
Next comes the term "Priest." - The work of priests was undoubtedly familiar even in pagan cultures long before Moses and Aaron, but what did God's true Priests do?
The Books of Moses are full of instructions for mode of dress, making of worship utensils, conducting blood sacrifices and offerings of food and grain and drink, recipes for incense, the building and dimensions of the Tabernacle, and all kinds of items for which the Priests were to administer responsibility. All those categories of activity were ultimately required, though, so that, opposite to an Apostle's bringing God to people, the people might also be presented properly to God! (Notice how both aspects of Apostle and Priest are enacted in worship services at God's "lap," if you will:--> "L.A.P." Lecturn-Altar-Pulpit, where He speaks to us and we approach Him.)
Let's fix our thoughts, then, on why Jesus is the most superior High Priest. - He fills the Office by presenting us as perfectly righteous before the Throne of God the Father. But secondly, He's also unique in His Priesthood in that He's the only Priest who ever presented Himself as the Sacrifice! Only His and not animal blood, and only His and not human offerings, could ever cover and take-away our sinful deeds and natures. We're too steeped in sin to ever be able to present ourselves.
The superiority of Jesus as Priest over all others is exhibited at the Cross where He died for the sins of the whole world, and in His Resurrection through which He has promised to all those who believe that He will present them alive before God in perfect righteousness and holiness! FIX your thoughts on THAT! He's going to DO exactly that for all people of true faith!
Jesus is Apostle and Priest, and the third thing is "Son." - The text admits that Moses was really someone special in God's sight because, although he fearfully confessed his personal inadequacies, God nevertheless worked great deeds through him. God spoke face-to-face with Moses as with no one else and confided His plans with Moses. Moses followed what God told him of his own volition and, most importantly, testified to what God would bring about in the future, the text says - referring to Christ's coming, of course. For all his importance in both God's eyes and ours, though, Moses was still only a servant. He did "belong" as one under God's care and within God's household to be sure, but his status was nowhere near that of Jesus!
Jesus was even closer to God than Moses in His Person and Role and Office by virtue of also being God's own SON! Contrasted with Moses' being in-and-part-of God's house, Jesus is the Bearer of the Family Crest, so to speak. - As the Son, Jesus is the Inheritor of all God's property and authority and is the One who maintains rulership over all God's house - not Moses or anybody else!
Moses essentially proved to be faithful in his tasks for God, but Jesus proved Himself to be perfectly faithful as the premiere "Apostle" and most superior "Priest," and He also holds the higher position of rulership over all God's house by being God's "Son." - The Heavenly Father has therefore deemed Jesus worthy of greater honor than even Moses, just as a house-builder gets more recognition than the building.
The rest of the chapter following the text reminds us of the murmuring and unfaithfulness of the Israelites wandering in the desert wilderness after their miraculous escape from Egypt. God dealt harshly with their griping and complaining through the testing He allowed them to undergo, swearing "in His wrath that they would never enter His rest."
WE are the building and household over whom Jesus, the Son, rules, IF we hold fast to our confidence and rejoice in our hope to the end, the text says. The course we are to follow is quite different from the poor example given us by those ancient Israelites. - Let's then hold fast and fix our thoughts on Jesus and His work as Apostle, representing God to us; His work as Priest, presenting us to God by His life, death and resurrection; and His position of authority and glory as God's Son!
Even human wisdom advises that dwelling on our problems can lead to self-defeating depression or despair. Rather than be focused on all the negatives, then, and Satan's and the world's evil influences and the frustrations of our own sinful natures, the aim is to fix our thoughts on Jesus! --- As our chief Apostle and Priest and God's Son, HE is faithful and will enable us to hold tight to our confidence and hope in Him. HE is able to make us stand at the Last Day!
Fix your thoughts on Jesus! HE is the Beginner and Finisher of our faith. Fix your thoughts on Jesus, and HE will ensure our celebratory reunion in glory! Fix your thoughts on Jesus! All glory belongs to HIM forever!