STAY FOCUSED ON JESUS
The other day, I went over to the Ross Barnett Reservoir to take some pictures. As I was driving on west pipeline road, I saw an eagle, perched on a stump. Slowly, I stopped my car and put my camera with my telephoto lens in the window. What an opportunity for a great shot. I got off two quick shots before the big bird took flight. But, alas! When I down loaded the pictures into my computer, the focus was off.
In our text, the author of Hebrews writes, “Fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.” (NIV). “Consider the apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus“ (NKJV). The key word to understanding Hebrews 3:1-6 is the word “consider” or “fix.” If I were translating this verse, I might put it this way. “Stay focused on Jesus.” We would do well to stay in “focus” on Jesus at all times, but most especially during times of testing.
We discovered in chapter one that Jesus is superior to the prophets and the angels. Now we discover that Jesus is superior to Moses. “For this one (ie. Jesus) has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses.”
Next to Abraham, Moses was the most revered man to the Jewish people. The Hebrew Christians were experiencing terrible persecution from their Jewish contemporaries. They were tempted to give up their Christian commitment and go back to Moses and the Law. The writer is trying to convince his readers that Jesus Christ is Greater than Moses. The entire Jewish religious system came through Moses but grace ant truth came through Jesus Christ. Therefore the writer admonishes us to “consider“ Jesus Christ. Fix your thoughts on Him. Stay focused on Jesus. Why should we stay focused on Jesus?
I. WE SHOULD STAY FOCUSED ON JESUS BECAUSE OF WHO WE ARE
We who are genuine Christians have confessed our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Note that the writer gives two special designations to His readers.
A. We are holy brethren: The word “holy” means to be set apart or separated to Christ. They are holy because they have turned from the world to Jesus Christ. The word “holy” is also related to the word “sanctified”. Heb 2:11 says, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Jesus calls his followers, brethren. Moreover, in Christ we are God’s children.
B. We are partakers of the heavenly calling: Our call to follow the Lord Jesus came from Heaven. Moreover, it as a call to heaven. The word “partakers” can also be translated as “partners.” If the meaning is “partakers” it means that we have received that calling from God. If the meaning is “partners” it means that we have been called to share in a common responsibility, a common mission. The NIV says, “who share in the heavenly calling.”
The word “Partakers” is used several times in Hebrews. We are partakers of the Heavenly Calling (Heb. 3:1). We are partakers of Christ (3:14). We are partakers of the Holy Spirit (6:4). We receive God’s loving discipline in order that we might be partakers of His holiness (12:10).
II. WE SHOULD STAY FOCUSED ON JESUS BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS:
The writer makes a comparison and a contrast between Moses and Jesus. Moses was perhaps the greatest man in the Old Testament. The Law was given through Moses. As we have seen, Jesus is greater than the OT Prophets. God spoke in the past through the prophets but his final revelation has come through His Son. Jesus is greater than the angels. Now we see that Jesus is greater than Moses. The Hebrew believers were in danger of drifting back into Judaism . That is why the inspired writer said, “But this One (Jesus) has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses.”
A. Jesus is the “Apostle” of our confession: The word “apostle” means “one who is sent.” Normally we think of the apostles whom Jesus sent. But the emphasis is that Jesus was sent on a special mission. He completed his mission of redemption on the cross. It is this Jesus whom we confess.
B. Jesus is the “High Priest of our confession.” This is the second mention of the High Priestly ministry of Jesus (see 2:17-18). Moses was a prophet who occasionally served as a priest but never as the High Priest. That title belonged to Moses’ brother Aaron. Jesus Christ now has the title “Great High Priest.” Moses was primarily the prophet of the Law while Jesus is the messenger of God’s grace. Moses helped prepare the way for the coming of the Savior. Jesus is the Savior.
Whenever you face challenges in your life, what is the first thing that you think about?
Do you immediately begin to fear and focus on your circumstance and problem – or do you focus on the One who can give you the answer to your problem?
In our Christian walk it’s important for us to always learn to stay focused on Jesus who is the Author & Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It’s important that we don’t get distracted by waves of circumstances in our life but that we hold on to Jesus.
Matthew 14:29-30 NKJV
So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
Sometimes life is full of challenges. There are things and situations that we face that cause us to fear, worry or become depressed. However in life, we should not allow problems to paralyze us or allow them to dictate our emotions and our mission. We must be focused on Jesus and remember that Jesus can save us from our challenges.
Jesus’ disciple Peter faced a situation where his faith was tested by the situation that surrounded him.
Matthew 14:28 NKJV
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
When Peter saw Jesus walking on water towards them, Peter also wanted to walk on the water, just like Jesus. We too are all called in our Christian life to imitate Jesus. Peter initially showed faith by wanting to walk on water in order to imitate Jesus. However, as Peter began to walk on the water, he started to pay more attention to the boisterous wind, instead of focusing his attention on Jesus and going towards Him. As a result, the more Peter focused on the strong wind, the more he became afraid.
Life’s challenges can do that to us at times. When we focus on our challenges or on a bad circumstance, we begin to fear, worry and doubt. God wants us to focus on Him only, no matter what challenge or difficulty you are facing. Because the more you focus on your difficulties, the more you fear and the less you focus on Jesus. Remember – only Jesus can save you.
Matthew 14:30 NKJV
But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
Therefore Peter began to sink because he was afraid and he also took his eyes off Jesus and focused more on the boisterous wind. Do not let your difficulties paralyze or sink you. Focus on Jesus. Give all your issues to Jesus. Let Jesus save you.
When Peter realized that he was sinking, he knew who to cry to – Peter cried to Jesus to save him. Even in your own difficulties, cry to Jesus to save you – and Jesus will save you – just like He saved Peter.
Matthew 14:31-33 NKJV
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
TODAY. If you are going through difficulties, focus on Jesus – not on your circumstances.