The writer of Hebrews begins Chapter 3 with such affectionate names for his readers: Holy brothers and sisters. Not just family, but holy family; the family of God. And not just family, but those who share in the heavenly calling. Those who are preparing even now to live forever with God in heaven, those who carry the promise of heaven in their earthly bodies.
That’s who you are, sister, if you are in Christ. We are God’s holy family, and we share a heavenly calling! We’re called to consider Christ the apostle and the high priest. Why those two titles?
Apostle literally means messenger. Jesus came to earth, as the great messenger of the faith you and I hold to. He directly offered us the hope we have. Jesus is the apostle, and the high priest, too. He is the one who sanctifies us. He is the one who intercedes for us, who stands in our place. We depend on Jesus to forgive our sin and make us acceptable to God. Jesus is the only apostle and high priest. He’s the only one qualified to fill both roles. He’s the only one who shows us who God is and makes it possible to be in God’s presence.
In verse 2, the author compares Jesus to Moses. Imagine the respect, the veneration this audience had for Moses. Moses was the man chosen by God to confront Israel’s captors, liberate God’s people, and lead them in their freedom into new ways of worship. Moses received the law, and the ten commandments. He met with God on the mountain, he was the intermediary between God, and God’s chosen people. The audience of the book of Hebrews would hold Moses in such high esteem, and rightly so, but then the author called the Hebrews to elevate Jesus even more.
Hebrews 3:3 says that Jesus is worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. In chapter one, the writer highlighted Jesus as creator; He was present and speaking at the creation of the world. Here in chapter 3, he talks about Christ being the creator of God’s faithful people, the church. Moses is a part of God’s house; Jesus is the builder. Jesus is the builder of the global church that has spanned the centuries.
Moses was a key minister in this timeline of God’s faithful people. He played a crucial role in liberating, preserving, governing, and encouraging God’s people. But Christ, the creator of all things, is God. The same God who laid the foundations of the world, who made the world with nothing but the words from His mouth made the church, and just as miraculously sustains it with materials, (you and me) completely unsuitable for such a glorious house. Jesus is God. He built the church, and He has preserved the church throughout the generations by leaving us the Holy Spirit.
Verse 5 says that Moses was a faithful servant in God’s house. He testified to things that would be revealed and fulfilled in the time of Christ. But verse 6 says that Christ is faithful as Son over God’s house. Jesus is not another servant. He’s not another teacher. He’s not another good guy with tweetable quotes. He’s the Son of God. He’s made of the same substance as the Father. He’s God. He’s the rightful owner, and ruler of the church.