We have just finished studying two of the most famous verses, not only in the letter to the Hebrews, but in the whole New Testament. Especially those opening words of that second verse have such a resounding poetic ring - "...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith!" The magnificent phrasing sounds affirming and majestic. They resonate.
In our text today our writer opens with the same idea but points it in a slightly different direction. We are more bluntly told to "Consider him..."(3). But this consideration is different from "looking to" Him as founder and perfecter of our faith. This is a consideration, not first of all of our faith, but of His endurance to opposition.
We are reminded of the relational conflict - the contradiction - between our Lord and the sinful culture He came to redeem. In fact, that word - "contradiction" - is the word the translators of the old King James Versionactually placed in this third verse - "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds"(3 KJV).
That word "contradiction" is defined by the dictionary as "a direct opposition between things compared - an assertion of the contrary or opposite." This is what we're being called to "consider" in today's text. This is how our writer describes Jesus in contradiction to the culture He came to redeem.
What we need to do now is examine why our writer takes his readers - including you and me - in this particular direction. Why does he begin wrapping up his letter mining the meaning of the contradiction - the polar-opposite tension - between our sinless Lord and His sinful culture?