Having established Jesus’ superior position relative to angels, our author moves on to another of his main tasks: proving to the Jews that Jesus is more than just another Moses.
Jesus is the ‘apostle’ in that He is sent by God to deliver the good news of the Kingdom. He is the ‘high priest’ in that His mission is that of atonement, and He will redeem us to our Creator. The author indicates that Jesus fulfills these roles with respect to ‘our confession’: He is ‘the apostle and high priest of our confession.’
The New Testament is replete with terms like confession (testify, witness) that are drawn from a courtroom context. We confess to Jesus as our apostle and high priest in the way that a witness testifies or witnesses on the record and demonstrates a willingness to be identified with a specific description of reality. In other words, we say, ‘Jesus is the Son of God Who takes away the sin of man and ushers in the Kingdom of Heaven,’ in a definitive, on-the-record way, which links us with the truth of that statement. It’s more than heresay or rumor, it’s a truth claim on which we’re willing to stake our reputation and identity.
This ties into v.6, where the author exhorts his readers to ‘hold fast [their] confidence.’ This statement stretches into the future, encouraging the readres not to be shaken from this truth claim regardless of what opposition or difficulties the future may bring. But it also stretches back into the past because this confidence is not new but is placed in the Jewish tradition and history of relating with God and receiving His promises of hope. The author here is telling us that the truth claim which we confess, that of Jesus being our apostle and high priest, is not new but comes from the very core of the relationship established between God and Abraham, and institutionalized by Moses.
This furthers the idea that I’ve been exploring thus far through Hebrews of the major role that hearing, believing, and telling has in the Bible. Maybe this is a theme specifically pursued by the Hebrews author, or maybe I’m making something up out of whole cloth, but most all of my Bible study this year keeps coming back to this central idea of the Word or truth that God shares with us, that we’re obligated to believe, and that we must declare ourselves to be in agreement with. This truth seems to be broader than the narrative of the gospels, or even of the Gospel message as articulated by the Romans Road. I keep coming back to this idea of order, that God created the world with a specific order of good things over bad and that, through the Incarnation, God is bringing creation back into alignment with that order. No conclusions at this point: just something to keep an eye on as we go forward.