Christ is Superior to Moses Part 1 “A Comparison between Jesus and Moses” – Hebrews 3:1-6
Pastor Mark Hardy April 26, 2015
Have you ever had a hero you looked up to? A hero is a person who is greatly admired for distinguished courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities that is regarded as a model to follow. For the Jews, this person was Moses whom they revered as the greatest Jew who ever lived. Moses was their hero for at least four reasons:
• First, because Moses was sovereignly preserved by God at birth from Pharaoh’s decree to kill all the male babies of Israel. After his mother put him in a basket and hid him among the reeds of the Nile River, Pharaoh’s daughter found him, raised him as an honored prince of Egypt, and Moses’ real mother was allowed to be his nursemaid (Ex. 2:1-10).
• Second, because Moses was chosen by God as Israel’s deliverer from bondage in Egypt at the burning bush (Ex. 3). God through Moses inflicted the ten plagues upon Egypt whereby Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt (Ex. 7-12), through the miraculously parted waters of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:21-22), around the wilderness for 40 years, and eventually to the border of the Promised Land.
• Third, because Moses was Israel’s greatest prophet. While God spoke to his other prophets in visions and dreams, He spoke directly to Moses face to face (Num. 12:6-8; Deut. 34:10-12). Moses saw the very glory of God, which was reflected in his face for a brief time after he came down from Mount Sinai (Ex. 34:29).
• Fourth, because Moses was Israel’s Lawgiver and great historian. Not only did he deliver God’s Ten Commandments to Israel from Mount Sinai, but also under divine inspiration he authored the entire Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, which lays out the Levitical laws, the sacrificial system, and the plans for the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. Since the Old Covenant with its commandments and rituals was the Jews supreme priority, they saw Moses and the Law as synonymous, and thus called it “the Law of Moses” (Lk. 2:22; Acts 13:39).
Since what Moses did affected every part of the Jewish life, they revered him above all others as God’s greatest man. When Moses died, the Lord Himself buried him in an anonymous grave (Deut. 34:5-6), perhaps so the people would not worship his bones.
It is no wonder then that when the professing Jewish Christians in the Epistle of Hebrews experienced extreme pressures and persecutions for their faith in Jesus Christ they were tempted to forsake Christianity and return to Judaism and its greatest leader. But the author of Hebrews does everything he can to reassure them that Christianity is true and Jesus Christ is indeed the Messiah. In chapters 1-2, he showed how Christ is superior to the prophets of the Old Testament and to the angels, who were the spiritual agents in the giving of the Mosaic Law. And now as we come to Hebrews 3, he shows how Christ is superior to Moses, the Jews lawgiver and hero. Turn in your Bible to Hebrews 3.
In Hebrews 3:1-6 we see three great proofs of Jesus’ superiority to Moses, which are intended to encourage us as believers to remain faithful to Jesus Christ no matter what trials may come into our lives.
The first great proof of Jesus’ superiority to Moses is this:
I. Jesus’ Superior Office
A. Because God in Christ became a man, “…so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest. . . . to make propitiation for the sins of the people” and to “come to the aid of those who are tempted,” which we saw last time in 2:18-19, the author of Hebrews now says in 3:1: Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
1. The phrase “holy brethren,” which is found only here in the New Testament, refers here to the author’s fellow Christians.
Believers are often called “brethren,” brothers and sisters in the one family of God (Gal. 1:11; Heb. 2:11) and “holy ones” or “saints”—those sanctified or set apart by God for Himself and His service (1 Cor. 1:2; Col. 1:2).
2. Believers are also called here “partakers of a heavenly calling.” We are those who have received the effectual or effective call of God to salvation that was “heavenly” both in its origin from God and in its ultimate goal to which it leads.
3. This is what the apostle Paul called the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus” that summons us as believers to salvation where we will spend eternity in our heavenly home, where our true citizenship presently lies (Phil. 3:14, 20).
4. Notice that to true believers the author of Hebrews then issues the command, “…consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” The command “consider Jesus,” which is His human name, is the central thought of the passage, as well as, the entire book.
5. The word “consider” is no quick glance! It means to give careful and thorough attention to something, to apply one’s mind diligently, to understand fully.
6. It refers to continually fixing or setting our minds on Jesus and letting it remain there, so that we can fully understand who Jesus is, what He has done for us and the implications of what that means to our daily life.
7. Here the author wants us to “consider Jesus” as to His office as “…the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” Now only here is the title and office of “Apostle” used of Jesus in the New Testament.
8. The word “Apostle” means “one who is sent or commissioned as an authoritative representative.” Over ten times in John’s writings alone Jesus describes Himself as being sent by the Father into the world to not only reveal Himself finally and completely to men (Jn. 1:18; 17:6, 26), but also accomplish His redemptive purposes.
9. Therefore, Jesus is the first apostle, the great apostle, and the source of all apostleship. He is the One who sent out or commissioned those who are known as the apostles (Jn. 17:18; 20:21).
10. So as the Apostle, Jesus is God’s representative among men. And as the great High Priest (Heb. 4:14) He not only opened the way for us into the presence of God through His substitutionary, atoning death on the cross, but also He is our representative before God who is constantly interceding on our behalf.
11. Since Jesus is perfectly human and divine, He is able to speak to men for God and to intercede to God for men. He is the only person through whom man comes to God and God comes to man, for 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
12. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the center of “our confession” of Christian faith, both in our doctrine and our public testimony. Everything centers on Him!
B. The author goes on to say about Jesus’ office as Apostle and High Priest in v. 2: He was faithful to Him (i.e. God the Father) who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.
1. Moses is now brought in and compared with Jesus. Notice that both were “faithful” or trustworthy to what God “appointed” them to do in their respective missions “in all His house.”
2. The phrase “His house” is a reference to God’s house or household and refers to the people of God not to a building. Moses was faithful in his God-appointed office to God’s people, Israel.
3. Although Moses faltered several times along the way, it is his overall faithfulness to God that is focused on here. God said about him in Numbers 12:6-8, “If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; with him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the LORD…”
4. Moses was truly special! Although as a prophet he could be considered a type of apostle, since he was sent by God to give Israel the Law and the Old Covenant, and on occasion he served as a priest representing the people (Ps. 99:6), he was never a high priest. That was the office of his brother, Aaron.
5. Therefore, as great as Moses was in the office God had appointed him to, Jesus is infinitely greater! Jesus had a superior office to Moses in that He is both an Apostle and High Priest.
6. John MacArthur accurately stated, “Moses had been sent by God to deliver His people from historical Egypt and its bondage (Ex. 3:10). Jesus was sent by God to deliver His people from spiritual Egypt and its bondage (2:15).” (Mac Study Bible p. 1869)
7. Therefore, Jesus was faithful in His God-appointed office to God’s people, the church. He glorified His Father on earth by faithfully fulfilling the mission that He was sent to accomplish in inaugurating the New Covenant through His death and resurrection (Jn. 17:4), and in doing so, unlike Moses, He never faltered or sinned (Heb. 4:15).
8. The second great proof of Jesus’ superiority to Moses is this:
II. Jesus’ Superior Work
A. Look at vv. 3-4: For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
1. The word “glory” here refers to honor and praise resulting from a good opinion. Now as great as Moses was and worthy of glory for his work in leading God’s people, Israel, Jesus “has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses…”
2. Why? Because “the builder of the house has more honor than the house.” Whereas Moses was only a fellow member of God’s house or people, Jesus has the superior work of being the “builder” of God’s house or people.
3. Look again at v. 4, “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.” This is a powerful passage for the deity of Christ.
4. Since “the builder of all things is God” and Jesus is the builder of God’s house, then Jesus is God. It was through Jesus Christ that the Father brought into being “all things” in general and “His house” or people in particular.
5. Colossians 1:16 states, “For by Him (i.e. Christ) all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
6. While Jesus is the Builder or Creator of God’s house, Moses was merely a creature who was a leader and member of God’s household of faith. Therefore, Jesus is superior to Moses and His work is worthy of more glory and honor.
7. The third great proof of Jesus’ superiority to Moses is this:
III. Jesus’ Superior Person
A. Look at vv. 5-6: Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
1. Again we see that both Moses and Christ were faithful, but here their faithfulness is contrasted as being exercised differently. In his person, “Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant.”
2. The word “servant” here is not the usual New Testament term for servant, and is found only here in the New Testament. It implies a position of dignity and freedom and refers to an honored servant who is far above a slave, something like a squire or assistant to a great person.
3. As a servant, Moses was a faithful and obedient in the administration of God’s house. Even God Himself said about him in Numbers 12:7, “Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household.”
4. Twenty-two times in Exodus chapters 35 to 40 Moses is said to be faithful to God. And in Exodus chapter 40 there eight references to Moses’ obedience in everything God commanded of him.
5. But even as the highest-ranking servant, Moses was still a servant. And yet his faithfulness as a servant was a testimony to that which was to come in Christ.
6. Look again at v. 5, “Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later.”
7. Judaism and its greatest leader was only the shadow (symbol) of the perfect substance (reality) of Christ who was to come. Therefore, if one rejects the substance, the shadow is worthless.
8. Judaism without Christ and the Old Testament without the New Testament are incomplete. They are merely the shadow without the substance, the symbol without the reality.
9. This is why Jesus said in John 5:46, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
10. To the two believers traveling on the Road to Emmaus, Jesus said in Luke 24:25-27, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
11. And to His disciples in Jerusalem He said in Luke 24:44, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
12. To accept Moses is to accept Christ, and to accept Christ is to accept Moses. You cannot accept one without the other!
13. But as great as Moses was in his person as the highest-ranking servant, he could never be what Jesus Christ was. Look at v. 6, “But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house.”
14. Although Jesus Christ was also the Suffering Servant as the Redeemer (Isa. 53; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13), in His Person He is God the Son who sovereignly rules over the household as the Lord and Master. He is the supreme Head of the body of Christ, the church (Eph. 1:22; 5:23; Col. 1:18).
15. Therefore, the Son’s authority is inherently greater than the servant’s. Homer Kent, Jr. said it like this, “In the old economy Moses had a special responsibility, and in the discharge of it he testified of the Christ who would come (Deut. 18:15). Now that Christ has come, the Son has displaced the servant and believers enjoy the direct lordship of the Son.” (p. 67)
16. The author of Hebrews then states about God’s house in v. 6, “…whose house we are…” As the church of the living Christ, we are the people of God (Eph. 2:21; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 2:5).
B. And how can we know for sure that we are the people of God? The author tells us at the end of v. 6, “…if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”
1. This is not speaking about how to be saved or remain saved. It means rather that perseverance in faithfulness to Christ is both the test and evidence of genuine saving faith.
2. For Jesus said in John 8:31, “If you abide in My word then you are truly disciples of Mine.”
3. God has promised in His Word that all true believers persevere by the grace of God (1 Thess. 5:24; Jude 24-25). Jesus said in John 6:37: All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. (Verse 39) “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”
4. And again in John 10:27-29 He states: My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
5. Therefore, perseverance is the mark of all true believers. But God uses these kinds of serious exhortations, and warnings which we will see next time, to function as a means for believers to persevere and secure their future salvation.
6. Now those who don’t “hold fast. . . . until the end” and fall away from Christianity are revealed to have never been true believers in the first place. The apostle John says about these people in 1 Jn. 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for it they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”
7. But as true believers we “…hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” As Christians our “confidence” is in Jesus Christ in whom we enjoy our bold access into the very presence of God, and thus, can be bold in our witness to others about our Christian faith.
8. And this confidence is the basis of our blessed “hope” of future salvation in heaven, which Hebrews 6:19 says is “an anchor of the soul,” keeping us secure during difficult times of temptations and trials.
9. Now although our confidence and hope can wane and falter, like Moses’ did, the Lord Jesus has promised to provide us all we need for every demand of life. This is why we are told in Hebrews 4:16 to “…draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
10. Therefore, we never need not give in to temptation or collapse under the weight of trials. But for this to not happen we must obey the command to “consider Jesus.”
11. Because of who He is and what He has done for us, we must fix our minds on Him to fully understood the superiority of His office, work and Person over everything and everyone! The reason so many Christians today are spiritually weak and worried is because they focus more on their problems than on the greatness of Jesus, and therefore, they miss out on His sufficient strength that He wants to give them.
12. Whatever you may be struggling with this morning, remember that Jesus is your merciful and faithful High Priest who not only intercedes for you, but also He is able and willing to give you His mercy and grace to help you.
Jesus is superior to Moses and everyone else. He is our supreme hero! When the trials of life bring us to the place where we have nothing left but God, it is then that we become aware that He is all we need. Jesus Christ is sufficient for everything.
One night while conducting an evangelistic meeting in the Salvation Army Citadel in Chicago, Booth Tucker preached on the sympathy of Jesus. After his message a man approached him and said, “If your wife had just died, like mine has, and your children were crying for their mother who would never come back, you wouldn’t be saying what you’re saying.”
Tragically, a few days later, Tucker’s wife was killed in a train accident. Her body was brought to Chicago and carried to the same Citadel for the funeral. After the service the bereaved preacher looked down into the silent face of his wife and then turned to those attending and said, “The other day a man told me I wouldn’t speak of the sympathy of Jesus if my wife had just died. If that man is here, I want to tell him that Christ is sufficient. My heart is broken, but it has a song put there by Jesus. I want that man to know that Jesus Christ speaks comfort to me today.”
And Jesus wants to do the same thing for us today. For in Christ we have all we will ever need:
A love that can never be fathomed;
A life that can never die;
A righteousness that can never be tarnished;
A peace that can never be comprehended;
A rest that can never be disturbed;
A joy that can never be diminished;
A hope that can never be disappointed;
A glory that can never be clouded;
A light that can never be darkened;
A strength that can never be weakened;
A comfort that can never be lessened;
A beauty that can never be marred;
A wisdom that can never be baffled;
And resources that can never be exhausted.
But these things can only appropriated and experienced in our lives as we “consider Jesus” as to His superiority and sufficiency. May each one of us do that today!
v. 4 The law of cause and effect, holds that for every cause there must be an effect. If you keep pushing further and further back for causes, eventually you will end up with an uncaused cause. The only uncaused cause is God.