“Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus.” (Heb. 3:1)
“Consider Jesus.” It’s great advice, but life is full of demands, of responsibilities, of distractions, and, yes, things to consider.
“Consider Jesus.” But which one? It seems anyone can have their own. There’s the philosopher, the example, the teacher, the guru, the guide. There are plenty of Jesi to consider. And Jesus indeed is many of these things, but none of them capture who he really is, who he came and comes and will come to be for us.
To make things harder, part of us shrinks back from the idea itself. Considering Jesus means considering a lot of things that we’d much rather file away or set on the back burner. Considering Jesus makes us reexamine our selfish decisions, our shortsighted goals and destructive desires
But yet, “Consider Jesus.” That is the goal set before us this Advent season, and the writer to the Hebrews helps us to do so by placing him next to another Biblical hero, Moses.
When it comes to the Old Testament, Moses is the man. He was the leader of Israel, delivering them from slavery in Egypt. He was the prophet of Israel, speaking to them the Word of God. It was Moses who had taught them to worship as they would worship until the time of Christ. It was Moses who taught them the law that would set them apart as a people until the time of Christ. In the Jewish mind at the time of Christ there could perhaps be no greater man than Moses, and that’s what makes the writer to the Hebrew’s statement so amazing: “For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)” Moses was great, but Jesus is greater. Moses was the man, but Jesus is the God-Man, the builder of all things. And so, “Consider Jesus.”
Do you remember what happened when Jesus arrived on the scene and John the Baptist’s disciples noticed that many were leaving to follow him? They complained,
‘Look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.’ They thought they were looking out for John. His congregation was shrinking as many crossed the river to listen to this new preacher named Jesus. John, however, looking out for them, and doing what every preacher and congregation is called to do, explained, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ (John 3:25-30).
The same is true for us. In this season where we are so tempted to focus on what I want, what I get, what others do for me, we must remember that this is precisely the time for Christ to increase in us, even as we decrease. Now is the time to prepare to find true peace in the manger, peace found, not in our own will, but in God’s, not in our works, but in this Child’s, not in our plans, but in the plan that brought him down from heaven above to earth.
Moses would have said the same, because the prophets were sent for no other reason than to proclaim the coming of this Jesus, and they longed for nothing more than the fulfillment of that which they proclaimed. Do you remember the Transfiguration? Who appears next to Jesus but Moses, together with Elijah? Jesus, who is the fruition of their message and the realization of their hope.
St. John reminds us in the very beginning of his Gospel, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). As Jesus’ person is greater than Moses, so also Jesus’ message is greater—not more necessary, but greater.
Moses has given us the law. Love God above all, and we haven’t. Love God’s name, and we haven’t. Love God’s Word, and we haven’t. Honor those in authority, and we haven’t. Honor body and life, and we haven’t. Honor God’s gift of sex and your spouse, and we haven’t. Honor each other’s property, and we haven’t. Honor each other’s reputation, and we haven’t. Honor each other’s best interest, and we haven’t.
Moses has given us the law, and the law would give us life if we could keep it, but the problem is that we can’t. Sure, we can make a decent go of things now and again, but that’s only now and again, and only a decent go.
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” There will not only be a Baby in the manger this Christmas, but a Baby who will grow in wisdom and stature to become a Man in the waters of the Jordan being baptized, a Man nailed to a cross while being mocked, a Man walking out of a tomb being glorified. To consider Jesus is to ponder more than the hay; it is to walk through the entire Church Year in your head, to call to mind all the Gospels say about him. Moses was sent to keep the house in order, but this Child is sent to bring the house home, and you are part of that house, the household of God.
“Consider Jesus.” No, it’s not easy, but I pray it’s on top of your list, because if Advent passes and you’ve accomplished everything else for Christmas but this, you haven’t gotten anything done. “Consider Jesus.” Yes, there’s a lot to be done, and, yes, there’s a lot of Jesi out there, but this is what the season is about, and this Jesus, the One put forth in God’s Word, born to die for your sins and to rise for your justification, is the One upon which to focus, because he is for you, in every way. All the rest is bells and tinsel—not bad, but not the thing to consider.