Summary: Exposition of Hebrews 3:1-6
January 26, 2003
First Church of the Brethren
H. Kevin Derr
“Jesus our High Priest”
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.
Jesus of Nazareth is identified with two titles here in this section. One is Apostle, the other is High Priest. These are not the typical titles that we associate with Jesus, Christ, Savior, Lord, Brother, and even Friend are ones that are far more common in our understanding. Yet, here in one of the most elegant and refined works of the New Testament, we encounter these two titles.
Apostle, is one that we typically apply to the 12 disciple who walked with Jesus, to Paul, as he states, an apostle, abnormally born. Apostle, literally “one who is sent” is given to Jesus,
as the One sent from the Father. High Priest is the other title, and this is one that will likely be
more difficult for us to integrate than Apostle. High Priest is not a common title, or identifier in
our culture or our practice of faith. Yet, the image, the title, is that of High Priest. The Author of Hebrews stretches our understanding of who Jesus is, and at the same time affirms the calling we have as those who have been set apart for service to the Living God, as the household of Jesus, one built by God to be faithful in all things.
We will explore this text but it will be centered on an OT text from 1 Samuel 2:35 which
reads, “I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart
and mind, I will establish his house, . . .” The author of Hebrews understood this Word of the
Lord to Eli to be about Jesus of Nazareth, the faithful priest, who God will raise up for himself
and establish his house, or his household... We see this thought in the closing portions of the
second chapter when the Author of Hebrews is speaking about Jesus with his brothers and sisters, with the children that God has given him... you begin to see the house of Jesus established. Today we will look at this idea more fully, of Jesus as High Priest and Apostle.
I. The author of Hebrews with “Therefore, holy
brothers.” Whenever you are reading in the NT
and you see a “Therefore” you always know that this
passage rests or is dependent on what came before,
so you must read it in light of the previous
A. Since those who are believers are mentioned
previously as Jesus’ siblings, we now
find that the Author of Hebrews is speaking
to those he is writing to as, “Holy
brothers,” now please ladies don’t be upset
with this, remember that “Brother” in this
sense is used as an inclusive word to
mention all the siblings of Jesus.
1. This title of Holy Brothers is
rooted in Jesus’ solidarity with all
of humanity,and is recognized in
2:13b with these words, “Here am I,
with the Children God has given me”
in essence with my household.
2. Remember, the Oldest brother
inherited the Father’s position, and
the rest typically remained in the
household, so, yes, it is
appropriate to speak of the
older brother as the one who would
head the household.
B. The author of Hebrews speaks of the siblings
here as Holy Brothers to remind them,
and in this to remind you and I as well,
that there are some unique things that come
with being part of Jesus’ household.
1. He reminds us that we are ones “who
share in the heavenly calling”
a. This we can read it in a few
ways, one that I find
striking is that we who
follow Jesus will ultimately
follow Jesus into death, and
from death to resurrection
and then to glorification.
b. Jesus who is the Champion,
the Pioneer, the Trail
Blazer, and we then
are the ones who follow the
path, the way, the pattern
of Jesus himself.
c. So, Jesus who destroyed the
power of death, so we are no