Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
Chapter 3 begins with a summing up from the previous chapter: Fix your thoughts on Jesus! We acknowledge Him as our “apostle and high priest.” The next sentence is the transition to a comparison between Jesus and Moses…
“Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses” which really sets Jesus apart as an important figure in the Jewish mindset, for apart from Abraham, nobody would have been considered greater than Moses. “Just as the builder of a house is greater than the house itself” is the comparison between the two. In saying that Moses was faithful as a servant in God’s house, but God is the owner of the house, and Jesus is the owner’s Son and Heir; Moses was working for Him. Thus, Jesus is far greater than Moses. While Jesus is “over” God’s house, and Moses was a servant in God’s house, we are God’s house, if “we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.”
Moses served in God’s house. We are God’s house.
Once again, we see a stark contrast between the relationship of Old Testament Israel and God, and the New Testament Church and God; the two are profoundly different. Israel consisted of God’s covenant people, His Nation on earth. He was their God and they were His people. They did not, however have eternal life, the removal of sins or a direct relationship with God. Christians have these things and more, because while the Israelites were born into their covenant as a function of biology, we are born again into a covenant relationship as a function of the life force of the Holy Spirit within us, and as a result, we are not just His people, but His children, whom Jesus calls brothers; Israel was God’s people, we are God’s family.
This is great news indeed, and I hope you are filled with joy at the thought… BUT… this is very much a conditional statement, for there is a great big IF in the middle of it. Depending on your doctrinal positions, you might start feeling a little uneasy right about now, but I would encourage you to recognize that this is not simply “Don’s crazy thinking” here, for you might have noticed that the rest of the chapter is another warning… and I’m not making that up, obviously. Of course, you are free to see things differently than I do.
The IF is this: …if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. What is this hope in which we glory business? Does he mean just a hopefulness about things in general, or does this specifically refer to something? Jesus is our hope for glory; our author is making remaining faithful as followers of Jesus a condition for the promises. In the verses that follow, which will be our next subject, you will see that our author cites examples from the Old Testament that back this up, so if this statement of mine seems unsettling to you, I sure hope you’ll read on…