Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Blogging Through Hebrews: Hebrews 3:1-6

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God's house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. (Hebrews 3:1-6)
The term “holy brothers” is a fascinating one and one that could lead to some controversy. The ESV (the translation I used above) and the Holman Christian Standard Bible render it “holy brothers”, the NASB and King James as “holy brethren”. Even the old skool NIV (1984 version) has it “holy brothers”. The (New) New International Version? The somewhat unique “holy brothers and sisters”. Which is correct? Does it matter?

The answer to the second question first. Does it really matter? Not in substance it doesn’t. While I believe the Bible sets forth very clear gender roles and responsibilities that doesn’t negate that both men and women have the same standing before Jesus Christ as our High Priest, our Lord and our Redeemer. Women are just as capable and called to serving and ministering as men, albeit in different ways. But does it matter? I understand that the Greek words used can be translated “brothers” or “brothers and sisters” but it is also my understanding that just because it can, doesn’t mean it should. I am concerned whenever people try to engage in social engineering with the Scriptures.

The contrast is interesting between Jesus and Moses here. Moses is the picture of a faithful servant within God’s household but Jesus is presented as “over” God’s house. What is this house of which the author speaks? The very Body of Christ. Not holy spaces or organizations. A people. It is so very important to constantly remember that what Jesus died to redeem and is calling even today is a people and we must always be on guard against losing the vision of the house of God as God’s people and turning it into a organization. Jesus didn’t die to redeem hundreds or thousands of competing organizations but one unified Body that will dine side by side with Christ in glory at the wedding feast of the Lamb. Those who wrongly identify Jesus as a mere learned teacher or a simple prophet miss entirely who He is revealed to be. Moses was a great man but a man like you or I. Jesus is God who took on the form of man to dwell among us and redeem us and the difference between Moses and Jesus couldn't be more stark.

We are His house. He dwells among us because He dwells in us! If that doesn't impact how we live each day, shame on us!

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