Pastoral Letter 158

JOHN GILLESPIE

 Printable version: pastoral letter 158

Beloved,

 

To treasure Christ supremely is to be truly rich in the soul.  To treasure Christ above all else is true health and wealth.

 

There is no need greater than that of a deeper and fuller experience of Jesus Christ.  A knowledge of Christ which is both intellectual and felt is the greatest need that you and I have.

 

The letter to the Hebrews presents Jesus Christ as the Best.  He is the Best in every category that counts for the soul.  There is none who surpasses the Lord Jesus.  He is our best:

 

Brother

Prophet

Priest

Promise

Purifier

Pastor

 

Remember what we are learning, that great lesson that the godly Henry Scougal taught us:  The health of the soul is determined by the value of that which it loves the most.  Take some time and read Hebrews 3:1-6.     The passage begins with that telling word “therefore”, meaning, “in light of what we have just discovered about Jesus”.  We have just discovered that the Lord Jesus is our Brother, our Best Brother, our Victorious Brother, the Conqueror of sin, Satan and death.

 

Now these Hebrew Christians are being encouraged to hold their nerve as believers, to fix their thoughts, to not blink in the face of trials. Their old Jewish ways are beckoning them to fixate on the seen and present, they are being encouraged to persevere in faith in the Invisible and Future.

 

In Hebrew 3, Jesus is being presented as One better than Moses.  It is hard for us to imagine just what Moses meant (and means) to serious Jews.  He was their best prophet.  There was none like him.  Moses:

 

Was called God’s friend

Saw God and spoke with Him

Delivered Israel from Egypt

Gave Israel their Law

 

He was their Hero! There was no rival as their #1 prophet.

 

How could anyone be better than Him?  Could Jesus Christ, a lowly, crucified Nazarene, be better than Israel’s Moses?

 

These Hebrew believers, “brothers”, who “share in a heavenly calling” are being summoned to “fix their thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest” whom they, and we, confess (v.1).  “Fix their thoughts on” literally means “to scan closely”, to “consider carefully”.  This brings to mind the command for us in Colossians 3 to “keep seeking things above” and to “set our minds on things above, not on earthly things”.

 

Certainly “scanning”, being “fixed upon” Jesus Christ is vital to treasuring Him.  Perhaps as we “consider Him continually“, we will inevitably grow in our love for Him.  If this is so, let us now “scan” Jesus, daring to compare Him to Moses, discovering just how He is our Best Prophet.

 

In other words, let’s discover just how Jesus is greater than Moses, Israel’s best prophet,

 

The heart of the matter is that Jesus was faithful as a Son, where Moses was only faithful as a servant (vss 2-6). God the Father sent God the Son to:

Seek and save the lost

Bind up the broken hearted

Gather the poor, the blind, the lame

Save the lowly things of this world

 

To be sure, Moses was the greatest of all to the Jewish Nation (Numbers 12:7).  But Jesus is greater still!  Christ is the heir of all that is the Father’s…namely US:  “And we are His house”.  Just consider the difference in a servant and a son in terms of the care given for what is in their charge!  As faithful as a servant may be, a son, owns what is charged to Him.  More so, a son is bound by love to his father, and will therefore be faithful through a greater motive.  So, as God’s Son:

 

  • Jesus always does what He sees the Father doing
  • The Father, who loves the Son, has placed everything into His hands
  • Will lose none of all that the Father has given to Him, but will raise them up at the last day.

 

As wonderful as Moses was, he could not, and does not, do any of the above!  The clincher here is that the Son is faithful over the Father’s house (the Church) because He loves the Father in a way that a servant cannot.

 

He:

Stewards

Protects

Provides for

Nurtures

Disciplines…

the Father’s House.

 

He is:

 

Able to keep you from falling and present you before His glorious throne without fault and with great joy…

 

…Because He loves the Father

 

Now take some time and consider this.  Meditate on what Jesus’ love for His Father means to you as a child of grace.  Add all the prophets and great men and women of faith up and consider them next to Jesus.  He alone is faithful as God’s very Son.  He is the Best Prophet, because He is more than a prophet.  He is a Son.

 

Read the rest of Chapter 3.  There is a stern warning affixed to the declaration that Jesus is greater than Moses.

 

Remember, this great letter was written to early Hebrew Christians who were taking their eyes off of Christ and looking longingly back to their old ways.  So, they are reminded of just what happened to those ancient Jews who followed Moses, one so inferior to Christ…The warning is clear:  If they rebelled in the face of the lesser, what about us if we rebel in the face of the greater?

 

Those ancients:

 

Hardened their hearts (v7)

Rebelled (v8,16)

Tested God (v9)

Did not know God’s way (v10)

Disobeyed (v 18)

 

In short:  They proved themselves to be Unbelievers! (v19): Unbelievers in the face of so much blessing; unbelievers who had been miraculously delivered and preserved by God’s might and grace; unbelievers who, through Moses, had heard the very voice of God.  Their unbelief, which displayed itself in grumbling, thankless, hard hearts, disqualified them from entering the fullness for which God had delivered them (v19).

 

The message/warning to us, who have One far greater than Moses is:  “See to it that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (v 12).  We are called to “encourage one another daily” (v 13), to prove our “share in Christ” by holding “firmly to the end the confidence we had at first”.

 

When a professed Christian departs from rejoicing in Christ and His Gospel, replacing rejoicing in the Truth of what he has heard and come to trust in with a murmuring, ungrateful spirit, he is in danger of proving that in fact he has no share in Christ.  When a professed follower of Christ looks back over his shoulder, and hearkens for the old days and old ways, he is leaving the way of faith, evidencing a “sinful, unbelieving heart”.

 

Brothers and sisters, we have the Best in Jesus!  He is not only our Best Brother, He is our Best Prophet.  He is faithful as a Son, over us.  We simply cannot do better than trusting in Jesus!  There is simply no better place to be than in God’s House (the Church of the Living God), and there cared for by none other than God’s Son.

 

Take time this week and consider your privilege and security as a follower of Jesus.  Refuse unbelief and rejoice in your salvation!

 

Yours,

 

John Gillespie