The letter to the Hebrews doesn’t have a clearly identified audience. Still, the ways the author talks about common foundational Jewish teachings indicate that the person writing the letter believes their reader/hearer was of Hebrew origin, hence the name of the book.
During the previous two chapters, we’ve addressed how the author talks about Jesus’ divinity, how He’s more than just an angelic being, as well as how much He loves people. So the audience would be led through that exact process: Jesus isn’t some heavenly being, He is God. Jesus considers us family and died for our own benefit. Jesus set us free.
This description would ring a bell because this letter was written to a group of people familiar with the Jewish tradition. To us, the name Moses might conjure up the image of Charleton Heston, or any other representation of the Old Testament narrative out of Exodus. This is not, however, how Moses’ original audience would have thought about it. To them, Moses was the key to freedom. With the mighty power of God, Moses brought his people out through the sea to escape Egypt, and throughout the following generations, Moses was remembered as the honored forefather who helped save the Jewish people.
So when hearing the Gospel about setting us free, some familiar with this tradition would respond with “So he’s kind of like Moses?” The author wants to make it perfectly clear for us: Jesus isn’t a character that God helps to set his people free – Jesus is the God that set them free:
“Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” (Hebrews 3:3-4)
They thought Jesus was just another leader, but Jesus is the leader.
We often make this mistake as well. When the church becomes just another entity on a long to-do list, it’s because we’ve miscategorized what is happening: our faith isn’t on the list next to “groceries,” it’s the measure by which we understand how our life is going. When our faith is in order, we are in order.
Questions for reflection:
- How can you dedicate some time to feed your faith – not as another “thing” to do, but as an act of self-maintenance that will lead to health in other areas of life?
- Also, consider for yourself: we all have things in our life that we love and spend time doing. But what is that thing in your life?