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Hebrews 3:3

"Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself."

The front of a large, modern house.

Hebrews chapter three presents several metaphors connecting houses and believers. For example, it says in verse six that, "we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ." The imagery of houses is often used in the Bible. For example, Jesus tells us that wise people build their house upon the rock of Christ's teachings (Matthew 7:24). Another famous reference in the New Testament is when Jesus tells his disciples that in his father's house there are many rooms, and he is going their to prepare a place for them (John 14:2). Paul also notes in Ephesians 2:20 that the followers of Jesus "are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets."

In our culture we don't typically use the picture of a house to represent a person or one's faith. More commonly, houses are symbols of one's social status. A big, modern house is associated with wealth, and a small, old house is associated with financial insecurity. A material property represents a social position. Of special note is that most Americans see a house today and then imagine the people who reside within it. We rarely think about the people who originally built it.

A construction worker putting house joists in place.

I like the imagery of seeing the church as a house and seeing Jesus as its builder. What makes this visual especially powerful is that the Bible (Mark 6:3) tells us that Jesus was a carpenter. He literally built houses for his livelihood.

The next time you see a house that catches your attention, try not to imagine the person who lives inside of it. Instead, try to imagine the person who built it. Your perspective is sure to change. In the same way, if people are houses, they really do come in every shape, size, and condition. Some are lovely, some are ugly, and others are damaged, but their creator is the same. So Jesus wants us to treat each house we visit with the same level of respect and care we would show if the builder was standing right next to us.

(New Living Translation; photo credits: Wix media)

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