Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 15, 1966
NUMBER 32, PAGE 10b-11a

"Consider Christ Jesus"

Leslie Diestelkamp

When someone mentions the Hebrew epistle most of us immediately think of the old and the new covenants. We remember that "in time past" God spoke by the prophets but that he now speaks by his Son (1:1,2). We are reminded that we have a better covenant based upon better promises (8:6), and "a new covenant hath made the first old" (8:13). We cannot forget that the blood of animals accompanied the old law but the blood of God's Son sealed the new one (9,12,13). Wonderful indeed is the contrast between "old" and "new", and the book of Hebrews, studied with this contrast always in view is truly a rich storehouse of vital and glorious truth.

Another View

Have you ever studied the book of Hebrews with a view of searching for truth about Jesus Christ? When all the parenthetical material is removed in chapter three, verse one, the writer simply says, "Consider Christ Jesus". Briefly then, let us consider Christ Jesus as he is portrayed in the book of Hebrews.

In chapter one the divinity of Jesus is emphasized. He has been appointed heir of all things, and by him were the worlds made (1:2). He is declared to be God's first begotten (1:5,6). The throne has been given to him (1:8-13).

But then the picture is changed, and in chapter two Christ's humanity is stressed. Man is declared to be lower than the angels, yet he was put over the works of God. Jesus was also humbled with a human body "for the suffering of death" (2:9). Indeed, "It behooved him to be made like unto his brethren," so that he could be a proper go-between in making reconciliation for the sins of us all (2:17). Being both the Son of God and the Son of man he is perfectly 'qualified as the Great Mediator.

In chapter three he is contrasted to Moses. Faithful Moses was honorable, but Jesus had more honor. Indeed, Moses had great honor as a servant of God but Jesus had honor as "A Son over his own house, whose house we are." (3:2-6).

Christ as our high priest is the portrayal in chapters four, five and six. Declared to be the Son of God, but for our special benefit today, shown also to be that one who can go to God's throne for us, he is truly accepted as our mediator (4:14). His perfection was climaxed in suffering and in his death "He became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him" (5:8, 9). He is our forerunner before the throne of God (6:20).

Able To Save

In chapter seven we see the climax of our picture of Jesus (7:25). "He is able"! What a consolation! "Able to save"! What an assurance! "Save to the uttermost"! What a purification! But there is also a challenge. Those who come to God by Christ are the ones who will be saved. Had he not once said, "No man cometh to the Father but by me"? (Jn. 14:6).

But why is Christ possessed of so much saving ability? Is it just because he willingly died for us? Indeed it is because he died, but also because "he ever liveth to make intercession". The great superiority of the faith of the Christian over that of the Mohammedan or the Buddhists is that we worship and serve a Savior who died long ago and has been alive ever since! We do not pay our homage and honor at a grave not do we make a pilgrimage to a tomo [sic], but we appeal to our God through a living Lord.

In chapters eight and nine Christ is portrayed as the builder of a new and a spiritual sanctuary (8:1,2) and the liberator from an old, faulty covenant (8:813 and 9:10-15). The blood of the sinless Son, offered willingly, gave that Son the ability to be the perfect mediator of the New Testament (9:14-17).

One Sacrifice

The perfection of Christ's sacrifice is especially emphasized in the last verse of chapter nine and in chapter ten. One sacrifice! After all the centuries of frequent offerings by the people, now a full, complete sacrifice for everyone and for all time. Not the insufficient sacrifice of animals offered again and again, but the gift of God's love, his Son, given once and that was enough! (9:28; 10:3, 10:14). Herein is real remission of sins (10:17,18) and because of this sacrifice we can "draw near" to God with assurance (10:22).

In chapter eleven we read of the great faith of many, and yet they "received not the promise" (11: 39) but in Christ, God has "provided some better things for us"--the complete salvation of which the patriarchs could only have hope we can truly possess.

Even the last two chapters (12 & 13), devoted mainly to admonition and exhortation, point us always to Jesus, who "speaketh from heaven" (12:25) in regard to his unmovable kingdom" (12:28). Indeed he is declared to be "the same yesterday, today and forever" (13:8). Yes, Jesus, "that great shepherd of the sheep" (13:20) leads his people from an earthly fold to a heavenly abode. For when we are sanctified by his blood, we bear his reproach (13:12,13) and therefore, since we have here no continuing city, "we seek one to come" through Christ Jesus, just as he is portrayed to us in the Hebrew epistle (13:14).