Focus: Hebrews 3
It may seem hard to place into practical use what is often written in Hebrews because its audience are Jews seeking the Messiah. However, the meanings in the lessons that the writer is teaching are all practical and useful to the church of Jesus at large, even if the references ring hollow because they are rooted in Jewish tradition, teachings, and culture. In today's passage, the writer is using heroes of the faith of Israel in their God and contrasting the status of authority of Jesus to them in order to shift their faith to Jesus. Jesus is greater than Moses is the theme of this first part and Moses was revered because of the exodus of Israel from Egypt under great suffering and hardship. This suffering was not from anything that they had done, but was due to their shear number and fear of the Egyptians because of their number and favor with God. Notice that the writer calls Jesus the "apostle and high priest" in whom the new Jewish converts have placed their faith. Both titles are lower case to denote no special honor. As believers today that are not of Jewish lineage, we may cringe at such a title, (apostle), for our Lord, but remember the audience is Jewish and the writer is trying to convince the listener of Jesus' Christ-hood! Then the writer moves to probably the number one complaint that God had about the people of Israel - stiff-neckedness and their unbelief. The copious quotes and paraphrasing of known themes in the Old Testament are used to garner a buy-in to what is well known and accepted by them in order to shift their conclusion to Christ as the Messiah! The writer is saying to the reader that their tendency to disbelief is strong so do not let yourselves start down that road of disbelief. They were admonished to encourage one another, TODAY! He concludes by using the death of all of those who left Egypt and complained in the wilderness applying a metaphor to their current state - do not be like those who perished in the wilderness and never got to see the land of plenty, flowing with milk and honey! So practical today are these lessons if we can pull them away from its references! Praise Him. Amen!