I just returned from a men’s Bible study at my church. We are walking through the book of Hebrews and this morning our text was Hebrews 3:1-6:
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our econfession; 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as aMoses also was in all His house. 3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 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.
It has come up before in the study that, aside from the Gospels, Hebrews is unique in its emphasis on the name of Jesus alone. The word “Jesus” appears by itself, with “Christ” before or after it, more in Hebrews than in any other New Testament book other than those four Gospels. What is the significance of this?
One of the reasons is to stress the humanity of Jesus in light of His emphatic deity. After Hebrews opens with the declaration that God has spoken in His Son (1:1-2), that Son is shown to be Jesus, who became like His brethren in all respects, yet without sin (2:17; 4:15).
There is yet another reason, though, why I believe the name of Jesus appears by itself so often in Hebrews, and it has to do with the context in which the letter was written. As my former pastor and still good friend, Aaron King, once said, “Hebrews is a book written by a Hebrew to Hebrews telling them they don’t need to be Hebrews anymore.” In other words, a Jew wrote Hebrews to His brethren according to the flesh to show them that the Messiah had come and that believing and following Him was, in every respect, superior to the Judaism they might be tempted to hold on to.
Jews didn’t need to be convinced that there would be a Messiah (or a Christ, an Anointed One). They didn’t need to be convinced that there would be one or that He would come. They needed to be convinced that He had come. As is so often the case, especially in the New Testament, the first couple of verses of the book set the tone for the whole book, in essence becoming the thesis. The thesis of Hebrews is that, while God had spoken through the prophets, that revelation was incomplete, temporary, and yet future (to use the terms our teacher used this morning). On the other hand, God has spoken in His Son, a revelation that is complete, permanent, and it occurred in the past and continues (and will continue) to forever be effective.
Jews needed to be convinced that their Messiah was Jesus. So the Christ title, I believe, is intentionally removed so often in Hebrews to, in fact, stress that Jesus is that Messiah. He is the Christ. The writer, inspired by the Holy Spirit, hits the Hebrews over the head repeatedly with that name – Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…
The first mention of His name is striking, for in Hebrews 2:9 the writer is talking about One who, for a little while, was made lower than the angels. The emphasis on the earth is that, literally, “We see Jesus” as this One. The New American Standard accomplishes this emphasis with the inclusion of the word “namely” in front of the name of Jesus.
Jesus is the One the writer of Hebrews wanted the Hebrews to consider. He is the One and only Messiah. He is the One, the Son, in whom God has spoken.
He is both the Apostle and the High Priest of our confession, which in itself is a way by which the writer informs us He is both from God and of man. He is God’s ultimate ambassador, His ultimate representative, and He is simultaneously the One who is mediating man to God. For a Jew, or Gentile for that matter, to miss this is eternally devastating.
So, beloved, following in the spirit of the writer of Hebrews, I implore you also to consider Jesus. Read through the book of Hebrews and see just how He is superior in every way… to Judaism and everything else. He is THE Apostle and High Priest of our confession. There is no other Messiah coming. Only Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.