Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Superior Leader - Part 1

READ: Hebrews 3:1
Therefore, holy brothers, sharers of a heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus...

Logically, from a Jewish perspective, the Hebrew writer moves on to show that Jesus is superior to Moses. For the Jew, "Moses held a place that was...unique. He was the man with whom God had spoken face to face as a man speaks with a friend. He was the direct recipient...of the very Law of God...and Moses and the Law were one and the same thing" (Barclay, page 29). For the Jew, Moses was greater than the angels, so even though Jesus was superior to the angels as a messenger, was he superior to Moses as a leader of God's people?

Our author calls the Hebrew Christians "holy" and "sharers in a heavenly calling." We are reminded here that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, has called his disciples to come out of the world. Even though we live in the world, we are called to embrace a radically different set of values and thus to live radically different lives than those in the world do, because we are called to "consider" Jesus. "The word translated 'consider' means to look at something or someone with great care. It involves not only looking at, but thinking about. One must spend time to fulfill this word" (Fudge, page 36). "The word means to fix the attention on something in such a way that its inner meaning, the lesson it is designed to teach, may be learned" (Barclay, page 29). See Luke 12:24, where the same word is used by Jesus.

I would suggest that if we are truly going to be "holy brothers" who are truly "sharers of a heavenly calling" that we must "consider" Jesus consistently and frequently in our day-to-day lives in this world; "a detached glance is never enough; there must be a concentrated gaze..." (Barclay, page 29). I would suggest that most of us who consider ourselves his disciples, do not spend near enough time or mental energy concentrating on Jesus. The author will repeat this admonition in chapter 12, a more familiar passage to most of us, where he calls us to "fix our eyes on Jesus".

The first way that Jesus is superior to Moses as a leader is that he has demonstrated for us, to perfection, what a life in this world lived to the glory of God truly looks like. Moses was faithful to his calling, but he was not perfect. Jesus was faithful to his calling and he was perfect. How can we know how to live, and how will we be inspired to live, in this world for God unless we concentrate on Jesus?

Father, I thank you for this admonition that I've consider this morning. It is why I've decided to focus my attention for a while on the book of Hebrews - because it is all about Jesus! I have found myself being more easily discouraged and becoming more critical in my spirit of late. Certainly, these are two major traits of my sinful nature. I know that I need to look at Jesus and think about how he was able to live faithfully in this world for you while he faced must more severe circumstances than I face. I need to be challenged and convicted by his example, but also by his example I need to be equipped and inspired. Jesus didn't just pray "may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven;" he lived it! Father, I know that is my calling - to live a life in this world that is holy, or set apart, knowing that I have a heavenly calling to fulfill. Today, please help me to see how I can be more like Jesus in my interaction with my wife, my brothers and sisters in Christ and those in the world. When it is unclear, then please remind me to consider Jesus to gain the clarity of conviction that will result in my obedience to your will. Amen.

Are you living up to who you are according to God? Are you living a "holy" life as one who is a "sharer in a heavenly calling"? Are you taking the time to "consider" Jesus in such a way that you are convicted and yet inspired about the life God has called you to live? If not, what are you going to do differently from this day forward?

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