Hebrews 3:1 MEANING

Hebrews 3:1
(1) Wherefore.--The address which here begins (the first direct address in the Epistle) bears the same relation to all that has preceded, as Hebrews 2:1-4 bears to the first chapter. In particular, the contents of the second chapter are gathered up in this verse, almost every word of which recalls some previous statement or result.

Holy brethren.--United in one brotherhood in virtue of a common sonship (Hebrews 2:10) and of a common brotherhood (Hebrews 2:11) with Jesus, Him "that sanctifieth" (Hebrews 2:11).

Partakers.--Through Him who "took part" of our earthly nature (Hebrews 2:14) we are partakers of a "heavenly calling" (Hebrews 2:10) as God's sons.

The Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.--The best MSS. omit "Christ"; and it is impossible not to feel how fitly the personal name "Jesus" is used after the later verses of Hebrews 2. Here only is the name Apostle directly given to our Lord; but the thought is present in Hebrews 2:3, and in the many passages in which Jesus designates Himself as the Sent of God, using the word from which Apostle is derived (John 3:17; John 5:36, et al.; especially John 17:18; John 20:21). There is very little difference between Apostle and Prophet, thus applied; but the one brings into relief the mission, the other the office and position. Each presents a thought complementary of that contained in high priest: "as Apostle Jesus pleads the cause of God with us; as High Priest He pleads our cause with God" (Bengel). The next verse renders it probable that the two terms contain a reference to the special mission of Moses and the priesthood of Aaron; our Christian confession looks to One mediator.

Verse 1. - Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus (Ξριστὸν before Ἰησοῦν is ill supported, and to be rejected from the text). Reference to what has gone before is perceptible throughout this verse. The persons addressed are "holy," as being among the "sanctified" (Hebrews 2:11); "brethren," as being, with the writer, in this relation to Christ (Hebrews 2:11, 12, 13, 17); their calling is a heavenly one, being from heaven (Hebrews 1:1) and to heaven (Hebrews 2:10). Jesus is their" Apostle," as having been sent into the world, as above set forth, from God; their "High Priest," as implied, though not distinctly expressed, at the end of Hebrews 2, which led up to the idea. "Jesus" is added at the end in apposition, so as to fix attention on him, as the bearer of these titles, who was known by that name in the flesh. On the title "Apostle," we may observe that, though it is nowhere else in the New Testament applied to Christ, yet its idea with respect to him is frequent both in this Epistle and elsewhere (cf. Luke 4:43; Luke 9:48; Luke 10:16; John 17:3, 18, etc.). The word ὁμολογία (translated "confession;" in the A.V., "profession") is generally used for the Christian's avowal of his faith before men (cf. Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:23; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Timothy 6:12). The genitive here depends on both the preceding substantives, its force probably being that Jesus, as Apostle and High Priest, is the object of our confession of faith. On Jesus, then, being such, the readers are called to fix earnestly their mental gaze, and in doing so take further note of his superiority to Moses, which is the subject of what follows.

3:1-6 Christ is to be considered as the Apostle of our profession, the Messenger sent by God to men, the great Revealer of that faith which we profess to hold, and of that hope which we profess to have. As Christ, the Messiah, anointed for the office both of Apostle and High Priest. As Jesus, our Saviour, our Healer, the great Physician of souls. Consider him thus. Consider what he is in himself, what he is to us, and what he will be to us hereafter and for ever. Close and serious thoughts of Christ bring us to know more of him. The Jews had a high opinion of the faithfulness of Moses, yet his faithfulness was but a type of Christ's. Christ was the Master of this house, of his church, his people, as well as their Maker. Moses was a faithful servant; Christ, as the eternal Son of God, is rightful Owner and Sovereign Ruler of the Church. There must not only be setting out well in the ways of Christ, but stedfastness and perseverance therein to the end. Every meditation on his person and his salvation, will suggest more wisdom, new motives to love, confidence, and obedience.Wherefore, holy brethren,.... The apostle calls the Hebrews "brethren", not because they were of the same natural stock and lineage, but because they were in the same spiritual relation; they all had the same Father, belonged to the same family, were the adopted sons of God, the brethren of Christ, of one another, and of the apostle; and they were "holy", not by birth, nor by their external separation from other nations, but through sanctification of the Spirit; and they were so by profession, and in the opinion of the apostle:

partakers of the heavenly calling; by which is meant not any business, or employment of life; nor a call to any office in church or state; nor a mere external call by the ministry of the word; but an internal special call of grace, to the enjoyment of the blessings of grace here, and to glory hereafter; and which is not according, to works, but according to the grace of God, and is by powerful, efficacious, and irresistible grace: and this is said to be "heavenly", because the grace by which the saints are called is from heaven, and it is to heaven they are called; and the means of their calling, the Gospel, is from heaven; and this epistle epithet is used to show the excellency of their calling, and to distinguish it from all others: and this the Hebrews are said to be "partakers of"; which shows, that God had not utterly cast off that people, and yet that they were not the only persons that enjoyed the grace of the effectual calling, they were but partners with others; and that the saints are alike sharers in this blessing, they are called in one hope of their calling; and it denotes the truth and reality of it: the duty they are exhorted to is,

to consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; the Alexandrian copy, the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions, read, only "Jesus"; who is called "the apostle", because he was sent of God to preach the Gospel, work miracles, and do the will of God, particularly to obtain redemption and salvation for his people, which mission does not suppose any inequality of persons, or change of place, or any compulsion or disrespect to Christ, but love to men; and is to be understood of him as in office as Mediator, and shows his authority, and that he was no impostor. The high priest among the Jews was, on the day of atonement, considered as "an apostle", or "messenger" (s); for so the elders of the sanhedrim address him on that day, saying,

"Lord high priest, we are the messengers of the sanhedrim, and thou art "our apostle", or "messenger", and the messenger of the sanhedrim.''

And it follows here, and "the high priest of our profession"; which may be understood either objectively, whom they professed, both by words or deeds; for a profession of him should be public, visible, and sincere; or efficiently, he being the author, sum, and substance of the religion, faith, and Gospel which was professed by them: and he is to be "considered" in the greatness and dignity of his person, as the Son of God; and in his wondrous grace and love in assuming human nature, and dying for his people; and in the relations he stands in to them as a Father, husband, brother, friend; and in his several offices, as Mediator, and particularly as sent of God, to be the Saviour of sinners; and as the high priest, who has offered himself a sacrifice, and ever lives to make intercession; and all this to encourage the saints to hold fast their profession of him.

(s) Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 5.

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