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Hebrews 3:1-6: Jesus is Greater than Moses Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 October 2016

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I am a very slow, deliberate shopper. I will not buy hardly anything without researching it first. I will look around at the different brands. I will compare features and prices. I will go on Amazon and read reviews (way too many reviews). And then I will think about it some more. I am pretty certain that it drives my wife crazy. Why do I shop this way? I am slow because I want to be certain. I have made large purchases in the past and realized quickly that I made a mistake or that I could have gotten a better deal. I donít like that feeling. So now I try to do all that I can to keep that from happening. I want to be slow and deliberate. I want to take time to consider.

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The author of Hebrews has written his letter to encourage his readers (and us) to take time and consider Jesus. Again, the original recipients of the letter were apparently thinking about abandoning their faith in Christ and returning to Judaism. The author wants them to consider this decision carefully. They need to stop and think about what they believe. And in particular, they need to consider Jesus. Look at verse 1 of our passage. These holy brothers who share in a heavenly calling need to stop and consider Christ. Notice that the author does treat them as believers, but that does not keep him from warning them to persevere in the faith. If they fail to consider Jesus and walk away from the faith, then they will demonstrate that they do not belong to Christ. The author does not want this for them. So he instructs them: consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.

Jesus was sent from the Father to bring the message of our salvation through faith in His work at the cross. He is the apostle of the good news! And He is also our High Priest, as we have already seen (2:17) and will continue to see (ch. 7-8). This is their confession, what they have claimed to believe about Christ. So before they walk away from the faith, they need to consider Him and all that He is. The author has already shown them that He is greater than angels (and the revelation they brought). Now he moves to a comparison with Moses. Why Moses? Moses is the one who led, pioneered (see 2:10), the people of Israel out of Egypt. He is the one who brought them the Law. Since they are being tempted to return to the Law, the author wants them to see that Jesus is greater than Moses. So what does he say?

Jesus was faithful to the Father like Moses (v. 2)

The author notes that both Jesus and Moses were faithful to God the Father. Look at verse 2. We see from the beginning that the author is not going to bash Moses to try and make Jesus look better. This is not a smear campaign against Moses. Unlike many of the politicians in our day, the author does not have to make Moses look bad for Jesus to look good. Rather, his approach is to show how great Moses was and how much greater Jesus is. Moses was faithful and so is Jesus.

How was Moses faithful? It is likely that the author has Numbers 12:7 in mind as he is writing this passage, which says of Moses: He is faithful in all my house. The context of that verse is God telling Aaron and Miriam of the importance of Moses. They had apparently spoken against him (see 12:8) and God is rebuking them for their attitude against His servant. Moses was not like the other prophets that heard from God through dreams and visions. Moses spoke to God face to face, or mouth to mouth (see 12:8). He is the one whose face glowed from speaking with God on Mount Sinai (see Exodus 34:29). The author is not making Moses look bad. He is helping them see just how great Jesus is by showing that Jesus is even greater than faithful Moses, which is what he goes on to show next.

Jesus was counted more worthy than Moses (v. 3-4)

Both Jesus and Moses were faithful to the Father. But Jesus has been counted as more worthy. Look at verse 3a. Jesus gets more glory than Moses. Why? The author explains in verses 3b-4. Look at those with me. The author uses a simple analogy here. He speaks of the house because God said that Moses was faithful in all His house in Numbers 12:7, referring to Mosesí leadership of the people of Israel. Moses was a faithful leader of Godís people, Godís house, but Jesus is actually the builder of that house. In this sense, Moses is simply part of the house, part of Godís people. But Jesus is the builder and the architect. When you look at a beautiful home, you do not walk up and praise the bricks and the mortar and the wood and the stones for coming together so nicely. No, you praise the one who designed and built it. He is the one worthy of glory. In the same way, Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses.

The author goes on to note that God is the builder of all things in verse 4. All of creation owes its existence to God. This may not seem that significant, but in this context, we see the author again implying the deity of Jesus. God is the builder of all things and Jesus is the builder of Godís people. If you put these two together, then you cannot miss the important truth that Jesus is God. The builder of all things has put on flesh to be our High Priest and bring us the good news of forgiveness of sins through faith in Him. The Creator is our Redeemer. The Builder is our Savior. And as great as Moses is, Jesus is worthy of more glory.

Jesus is faithful over Godís house as a son (v. 5-6a)

One final comparison between Jesus and Moses is that one is a servant in the house while the other is a son. Look at verses 5-6a. First the author describes Moses as a faithful servant. The word translated Ďservantí is not the normal term that means Ďslave.í Rather, it is a term that actually shows again the greatness of Moses in Godís house. To be Godís faithful servant was a great honor and the author of Hebrews does not deny Moses this title. But Moses is not greater than Jesus. In fact, the author goes on to note that Moses wrote about the great things that would happen later, namely the coming of the Prophet who would be greater than Moses (see Deuteronomy 18). Moses foresaw the coming of Christ and he longed for that day. The faithful servant of God looked forward to the coming of the Messiah.

Second, after identifying Moses as a servant, the author notes that Jesus is the Son. Moses was faithful in Godís house, but Jesus is faithful over Godís house as a son. Even the most faithful servant in all of the house does not have the authority of the ownerís son. The author of Hebrews is using this comparison to once again show the superiority of Christ to Moses. Moses was great as one of Godís most trusted and faithful servants. But he was not the Son. Jesus is greater as the One who is over Godís house, the Son who took on flesh and died on the cross to set Godís people free. He is the faithful Son, deserving of all our praise and devotion.

For those who might be tempted to abandon their faith in Christ to return to following the Law, the author wants it to be clear that Jesus is greater than Moses. As faithful as Moses was, he was a servant and Jesus is the Son. Moses was faithful in Godís house, but Jesus is faithful over Godís house as its Builder and Founder. The author writes these verses to point us to Christ. So then, how should we respond? Let me close with two applications.

First, we must consider Jesus. Who is better than our Savior? Who deserves our devotion more than Him? Think about it. The original readers were tempted to return to following Moses. What is it that you are tempted to treasure as greater than Jesus? Money? Comfort? Physical pleasures? Whatever it is, it is probably not as great as even Moses and the Law. So if the author is telling his original readers to not forsake Christ for Moses, what would he be saying to us? ĎGive up Christ for more money? Give up Christ for easy living? Give up Christ for fleeting pleasures, when He is offering joy everlasting? That doesn't make sense!í He is telling us to consider Christ. Consider all that He has done, is doing, and will do for us.  He gave His life on the cross to pay for our sins. He defeated death and the one who has power over death.  When we stop and consider Christ, we cannot help but come to the conclusion that we should abandon all other pursuits and run hard after Him.

Second, we must hold fast. Look at how the author closes this section in verse 6b. Once again we see the importance of persevering faith. Jesus is the faithful Son over Godís house. And by grace and through faith we are part of that house. But it must be enduring faith. We must hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. We must continue to look to Christ all the days of our life. He is our confidence and He is our hope. We must hold fast to Him in faith. Holding fast is not passive but active. We read our Bibleís every day to hold fast. We spend time in prayer every day to hold fast. We commune with the saints on Sunday to hold fast. We are active in our pursuit of faith, knowing that the Father will hold fast to us. As Paul tells us: work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:12b-13). We are not saving ourselves, but we are actively working out our salvation. We are actively holding fast to our faith in Jesus. Our faithful Savior, who is greater than faithful Moses, is worthy of our faithful pursuit. Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Friday, 14 October 2016 )

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