Lesson 8 – Hebrews 3:1-6
Lesson 8 – Hebrews 3:1-6
Hebrews 3:1-6 – The first 6 verses of this chapter has to do with Moses and comparing him to Jesus. To appreciate how, why, and to what extent Jesus is better than Moses we need to see how important Moses was, and in fact still is to the Jewish community. Moses is esteemed as far above any other Jewish leader who ever lived.
A. God had miraculously protected him as a baby.
B. God personally provided for his burial.
C. He was the man to whom God spoke face to face. He had seen the very glory of God and, in fact, even had this glory reflected in his own face for a brief while.
D. He was the one who led Israel out of Egypt.
E. He was the one who brought and taught Israel the Law. As Paul stresses in Romans 2, Jews had great confidence in the law. The Old Testament commandments and rituals were their supreme priorities, and to them Moses and the Law were synonymous.
F. Moses not only brought the Ten Commandments but he also wrote the first 5 books of the Scriptures. Those books lay out the Levitical and other laws that governed everything in the Jewish community.
G. It was Moses who wrote down the plans for the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant.
Moses was indeed great, but the Jewish Believers that this letter was written to boldly states that Jesus is greater. He is shown to be greater in His office, work, and in His Person. In His office, He is the Apostle and High Priest, in His work He is the Builder of the House, In His Person He is the Son. Jesus is superior in His Office.
Jesus is to be considered as the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. The fact that He is both of these is the first way in which He is superior to Moses. Though Moses was never so called, he could be considered an Apostle of the Old Testament. Apostolos means “sent one” and was a title often used for official ambassadors. In this sense Moses was God’s Apostle, he was sent to bring His people the law and the covenant. But Jesus was both an Apostle and High Priest. Though Moses could be considered a type of apostle, he was not a priest at all, much less a high priest.
Jesus is superior in office because He had two offices, whereas Moses had only one. Even in the office of Apostle Jesus is superior; first because he brought a greater covenant; and secondly because He Himself was the sacrifice that made this covenant effective. Jesus is the foremost one sent from God. He is the one about whom Moses and the prophets wrote (Deuteronomy 18:18), who would be the ultimate deliverer of the children of Israel.
What are the characteristics of an apostle or ambassador? First he has the rights and the power and the authority of the ruler who sends him. Jesus came in the power of God, with all of God’s grace, all of His love, His mercy, all of God’s justice, and all of God’s power. Second, an ambassador speaks completely on behalf of the one who sent him. Jesus said, “I did not speak on my own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say and what to speak. Jesus was the perfect Ambassador, the perfect Apostle, sent from God. He is also our great High Priest. But since His role as High Priest is dealt with in such detail in Hebrews 4 & 5, we will look at this more carefully later. Suffice it to say that He is the High Priest, the Mediator between God and Man. He is the one sent to Bridge the Gulf between God and man.
Jesus is superior in His Works: As a Builder (Hebrews 3:2-4). Here we have a brief comparison of the work of Jesus with the work of Moses. Moses was a great man, a man of God who stood head and shoulders above all other men. First the writer of Hebrews deals with their similarities. In Numbers 12:7-8 we read: “…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…”.
He carried out God’s plan. He led Israel out of Egypt to Mt. Sinai. He was a faithful servant. God refined him. It took 40 years to make Moses usable to God, and then for 40 more years Moses served God. When he got to the Red Sea, Moses believed God’s promise of deliverance and in faith parted the waters. He was faithful in the wilderness. There were several times when Moses faltered in the wilderness. For example, he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God had commanded. But for the most part Moses was faithful. And it is his faithfulness that God the Spirit of God is emphasizing here. Just as Moses was faithful so was Jesus, only more so.
Jesus was completely faithful to the Father. “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but He who is seeking the glory of the one who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him”. John 7:18. In other words Jesus is saying, “you can tell that I am a true apostle because I do not seek My own glory. I seek only the glory of the One who sent Me.”
From childhood He had always been about His Father’s business. Jesus always did the Father’s will. He was faithful. Faithful, is such a wonderful word. This is the chief qualification of an Apostle. Jesus said “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe me.” Jesus was trustworthy in His House. House in the original language here means “household” and refers to people, not a building or dwelling. Israelites and proselytes were God’s household. God was and is the owner of the house of Israel.
Moses was a steward, a manager of God’s house. He was in charge of giving to the people of Israel the truths, commandments, requirements, and promises God had committed to his trust. In this he was faithful. Messiah was also faithful in His house, the congregation of Believers, of which Gentiles were now freely invited into by faith in the promised Messiah of Israel. “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.”
Ephesians 2:19 “And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house” 1 Peter 2:4-5. As believers we are called to be stewards in God’s house, though in a lesser sense. We have been given gifts, and resources that are entrusted to us to utilize in God’s house.
We like our Messiah are called to be faithful Stewards in God’s house. As we are faithful God will fulfill His words through His Messiah, “you will do greater things than I.” Moses was faithful, but he was a part of the house. Jesus made the house. That is the difference, the great difference. Jesus created Israel. “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being”. Jesus is superior in His Office as Apostle and High Priest. He is greater in His works, because He is the builder of the House.
Jesus is greater In His Person: As Son (Hebrews 3:5-6). In this passage we see that Moses is by person a servant, while Jesus is by person a Son. There is quite a difference between a servant and a son. The classic foreshadowing of this difference is found in Genesis 24 where we learn of God sending his servant to seek a bride for Isaac.
In all likelihood this servant was Eliezer of Damascus (Genesis. 15:2), who was going to be heir if a son was not born. Eliezer was faithful as a servant, but it was the son who was given the rights and inheritance. It was also the son who was brought to Mt. Moriah to be sacrificed. Moses’ faithfulness had an important and special reason: to be a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later. He paved the way for the Messiah who was to come.
Jesus said quite accurately in John 5:46 “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me.” But Messiah was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are. We who are believers are God’s house. He dwells in us. How can we know that we really are God’s house?
By holding fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. This doesn’t mean we are saved only if we hang on until the end. We can neither save ourselves nor keep ourselves saved. The meaning is that continuance is the proof of reality. We can tell if we are really the house of God because we stay there. “If you abide in my word, then you are my disciples.