Hebrews 3 … Consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, (3:1).

“The better things” of Christ continue to be depicted. And today, in our quest to consider Him, to see Him increase that we would decrease (John 3:30), we are immediately directed in how to do so: “…consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.”

The writer resumes his illustration of the Superiority of Christ as the Apostle (one who is sent by God), and the High Priest (the supreme religious leader whose most important duty was offering the yearly sacrifice to atone for sin on the Day of Atonement).

To combat the temptations of Judaizers to revert to the law, “the better things” of Christ are matched against those so revered by every Jew. Moses, a servant, sent by God to lead His people out of the bondage of Egypt and into the Promised Land of Canaan, cannot compare to Christ, a Son, sent by God to lead His people out of the bondage of sin into the Promise Land of His eternal rest.

And the High Priest, designated to mediate between God and man, had first to offer a sacrifice for his own sins; and the sacrifice had to be repeated yearly. These appointed high priests cannot compare to Jesus, greater than all, for He is the High Priest Who had no need to sacrifice for Himself as He was perfect and without sin; and because He lives forever, His Priesthood continues forever.

To his Hebrew audience, and to every believer who has confessed Christ as Savior, the writer conveys the reality of the absolute Supremacy of Jesus; Supreme in both His calling and His fulfillment as the Apostle and High Priest.

Consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest

Jesus, the Apostle (Sent One):

  • Jesus, the Apostle, Sent to save the world.
    • “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” (John 3:17).
  • Jesus, the Apostle, Sent to do the will of His Father.
    • “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day,” (John 6:39).
  • Jesus, the Apostle, Sent to reveal the knowledge of eternal life.
    • “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent,” (John 17:3).
  • Jesus, the Apostle, Sent to give us His Father’s words.
    • “for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me,” (John 17:8).
  • Jesus, the Apostle, Sent to unite His followers and glorify His Father.
    • “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me,” (John 17:21-23).

Jesus, the High Priest (Mediator between God and man):

  • Jesus, the High Priest, Mediating as the perfect propitiation for our sins.
    • Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people, (Hebrews 2:17).
  • Jesus, the High Priest, Mediating forever.
    • where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, (Hebrews 6:20).
  • Jesus, the High Priest, Mediating as the holy, undefiled One, exalted above the heavens.
    • For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself, (Hebrews 7:26-27).
  • Jesus, the High Priest, Mediating to obtain our eternal redemption.
    • But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption, (Hebrews 9:11-12).
  • Jesus, the High Priest, Mediating by His one sacrifice offered for all sins for all time.
    • Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, (Hebrews 10:11-12).

How do we respond to Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest?

Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest, no matter whether we confess that to be true or not. Our confession is not what saves us; our confession professes our allegiance to Jesus as the Apostle sent by God and our faith in Him, the High Priest, Who mediates on behalf of men before Holy God. And as has been the writer’s main goal, he continues to point to the finished work of Christ that saves. For only One was sent as the Mediator between God and man.

…God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time…  (1 Timothy 2:3-6).

When we confess Jesus as the Apostle and High Priest, we are placed in the position to receive what He alone accomplished. And because He is the only One Who saves, we are called to rest by faith in what He alone has done. Refusing to believe is refusing to receive His rest (more on this tomorrow).

Today’s reading encourages us to consider Jesus, Supreme over all as God’s only provision for our salvation, that we would cease from our own works and rest in Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest. How should we respond?

Let’s do what the writer encouraged us to do. Today, let’s spend time considering the amazing fact that God so desires all men to be saved that He sent His Son to mediate as a sin offering.

Self-examination time:

Is Jesus the Apostle and High Priest of our confession? Have we placed our faith in His saving work, believing in our heart (with all that we are), then agreeing with our belief through public confession that Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest and is now the Lord of our life?

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation, (Romans 10:9-10).

There are a few passages in this book that raise the question of eternal security. Many insist that we can lose our salvation and cite passages from this book to make their point:

  • but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end, (3:6).
  • Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God, (3:12).
  • For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, (3:14).

If we rely on phrases such as, “If we hold fast,” “falls away from the living God,” “if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,” as proof that we can lose our salvation, then we have to deny the many Scriptures that teach the eternal security we have in Jesus Christ (see the following for further study: John 3:16; 5:24; 6:37, 40, 47; 10:27-29; Romans 8:38-39; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Hebrews 10:14; 1 Peter 1:4-5; 1 John 2:19; 5:13; Jude 1:24).

If we can lose our salvation, then that means we must have something to do with keeping it; and that contradicts His Holy Word. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3b), for He had finished the work of His Great Salvation. And since He finished it, how can we possibly reverse His finished work?

We must remember, this book was written to encourage the Jewish converts who were in danger of falling prey to the Judaizers, and to again rely on keeping the law rather than trusting in “the better things” through their faith in Christ.

The Bible teaches that those who have been born-again through faith in Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest, will never fall away from the living God, for He is the One Who gives us eternal life, He is the One Who holds us in His hand, and He is the One Who keeps us for all of eternity.

“and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one,” (John 10:28-30).

Those who seemingly fall away will be shown as those who, although they may have offered lip service, were never truly part of the family of faith to begin with.

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us, (1 John 2:19).

So how can we respond today? Let us hold fast by faith alone, resting in the truth that He will keep us to the very end. And may we never cease to be filled with gratitude for His Great Salvation that has called us into His holy family to partake of the heavenly calling we have through Jesus, the Author and High Priest of our confession.

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, (3:1).

Let’s Grow Together!

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