ALPHA AND OMEGA
‘Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to Him that appointed Him.’
Christ Himself shall be the Alpha and Omega of our message. Upon Him we fix our gaze.
I. The influence of Jesus Christ has ever been a personal one.—The Church is His Body. He is its Head. Contact with Him is the guarantee of its vitality. All down the ages, ‘What think ye of Christ?’ has been made the main test of orthodoxy. Deep into the mind of Christendom has been wrought the conviction that to reject the transcendent claims of the Son of Man is to leave in the system He founded nothing worth contending for.
II. It is in virtue of this Divine Personality in which it is centred that our creed becomes a power, a life. It is this, too, which raises our personal assent to that creed above the level of mere opinion. Christianity empowers while it enlightens; and it can do this because its Lord is ‘the power of God’ as well as ‘the wisdom of God.’
III. How sacred becomes the whole of life in the thought of its consecration to the service of our High Priest.
IV. If we are to be men of power, we must make much of Christ: consider we Him our Apostle and High Priest; confess we Him; place we His Name above every other name. Ask we to-day for a strengthened realisation of the inexhaustible reserve of grace hidden in Him for our personal and ministerial needs.
V. A closing reflection is drawn from the kind of evidence St. Thomas demanded before accepting the truth of His risen Lord’s identity: ‘Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails.’ Kindred evidence the world’s doubters have a right to demand. The visible stigmata in hands and feet of our crucifixion to the world, to self, and to sin. This is a reasonable demand, and alas for the Christian life when this demand is in no sense met. ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice; but the hands are the hands of Esau.’ Is it ever so with us? If so, God forgive us.
Bishop Alfred Pearson.
CHRIST AND MOSES
‘Wherefore, holy brethren … consider … Christ Jesus; Who was faithful … as also Moses was faithful … Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.’
The Hebrew Christians, on account of their oneness with Christ, are recognised as ‘holy brethren’; and they are invited earnestly to contemplate Christ Jesus their Prophet and Priest, so that they might make secure their heavenly calling.
I. The eminence of Moses.—‘Moses was faithful to Him that appointed him in all his house.’ Moses was inspired by God, and in all things was true to this inspiration. ‘Faithful’ as the giver of the moral Law; ‘faithful’ as the grand legislator of Israel; ‘faithful’ in all the appointments of worship and sacrifice. In the text Moses is compared for faithfulness to God with Christ Himself. The ministry of Moses was inferior to that of Jesus as the blade is inferior to the ear, or the ear to the full corn in the ear.
II. The superiority of Christ to Moses.—All the world, with the exception of a few shallow critics, has recognised in Moses one of the kings of men, one of the wonderful few by whom the world has been fashioned. Still the Apostle does not hesitate to claim the pre-eminence for Christ, and he suggests several particulars which prove and illustrate that pre-eminence.
(a) Christ is the founder of the Church, of which Moses was but a member. ‘For this Man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.’ The sense of which is: ‘Christ was the incarnate eternal Son, He by Whom are all things, by Whom also the house of Israel, the theocracy, was established’ (Ebrard). Moses was but a part of the Church.
(b) Christ is a son where Moses was but a servant. ‘Moses was faithful as a servant, but Christ as a Son.’
(c) The Church of Christ is spiritual, in contradistinction to the ritualism of the Mosaic period. ‘Whose house are we.’ This intimates the thoroughly personal, inward, and spiritual nature of the Christian Church.
(d) The Church of Christ is final; the dispensation of Moses was only a prefiguration and prophecy. ‘The whole office and service of Moses was comprised in laying down a testimony, which pointed to the necessity of a future, more perfect revelation of God’ (Ebrard). That more perfect revelation of God we have in Jesus Christ.
III. The condition of acceptance.—‘If we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.’
(a) Steadfast faith. ‘If we hold fast the confidence.’ Full and undisturbed confidence.
(b) Joyful hope. ‘The boasting of hope’ (Delitzsch). Although appearances are often against the Christian, and he may be poor and despised and afflicted, yet he is rich in hope, and this hope he must hold without misgiving.
(c) Enduring to the end. And this faith and hope we must hold ‘firm unto the end.’ If we renounce our faith in Christ we lose all.
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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Hebrews 3". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany