About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Jesus Greater Than Moses  (ch. 3:1-6)

 

The main topic of this letter continues in chapter three, and that is that Jesus is greater than anything or anyone.  In this instance the writer says that Jesus is greater than Moses.  Once again, like Abraham, Moses was well respected by the Jews as the one who gave them the Law.  Now this writer is saying that Jesus is greater than Moses as well.

 

"Therefore holy brothers..." is how he opens verse 1.  These brothers are holy only because of one reason and that is because Jesus has made them holy by His supreme sacrifice.  This will be expounded on later in greater detail.

 

We should be reminded that the holy brothers are Jewish holy brothers who in times past would have based their holiness on being children of Abraham who now base their holiness on the cross of Christ. 

 

The writer continues by saying, "Who share in the heavenly calling."  What is the heavenly calling?  The calling is a call to Jesus but this call goes as far back as Abraham.  Israel had a special calling to be a nation that would be an example of a godly nation to other nations.  Israel was to be God's representative to the nations of the world according to Exodus 19:6.       

 

The next words are, "Fix your eyes on Jesus."  This clarifies the New Testament calling is from and to Jesus Himself.  This is what all of the Old Testament was leading up to.  It was Jesus to whom these Jewish believers were to fix their eyes on, especially now, since it appears that they were being drawn away from Jesus back to Jewish legalism.          

 

Why should these people look towards Jesus?  It's because He is "The apostle and high priest whom we confess."  In this letter we will see that Jesus is called and referred to by many titles.  We have seen that He has been called the high priest in the last chapter, as well as in this verse.  He is also called an apostle here as well.  Of course, you might say that He is the original apostle of God.  Remember, the word apostle means "one who is sent."  Jesus was sent by God, something many Christians have given little thought to.  We often think of Paul, Peter, James, and others as being apostles, but so was Jesus.

 

One major debate over the book of Hebrews is to whom it was written.  Some say it was written to non-Christian Jews.  Others say it was written to Christian Jews who were being tempted to revert back to and Old Testament Judaism.  I hold to the second view.  It appears to me that verse 1 supports this position.  Although I know it is debatable, I believe the words "holy brothers" is in reference to Christian brothers and not Jewish brothers.  This becomes very important when we come to Hebrews, chapter 6. 

 

The words "Whom we confess" are important.  We confess that Jesus is both Lord and Saviour.  Confessing is something that we do with our mouths.  The sad fact of the matter is that many Christians no longer verbally confess Jesus.  They are silent.  It's hard for me to think that one who is a real born again believer, one who has handed his life over to Jesus, doesn't speak of Him to others.   The author is reminding his readers that they should continue to confess Jesus and not the legalism of the Law of Moses.

 

The Greek word translated as "confess" means to "speak the same thing."  So, confession, in terms of the Bible, means to agree with God and verbally speak this agreement.      

 

In verse 2 the writer says that Jesus was "Faithful to the one who appointed Him, just as Moses was faithful in all of Godís house (or household)."  Here we see the comparison between Moses and Jesus begins.  The Jews recognized that Moses was a faithful servant of God as he led Israel.  They now need to understand that Jesus is faithful as well. 

 

The temptation these believers were being face with was the temptation to revert back to the Law, revert back to Moses.  In so doing, they were ranking Jesus under Moses in importance.  The author is at least attempting to elevate their thoughts of Jesus to at least the same level as Moses. 

 

Notice the words "God's house" in verse 2.  In Old Testament Judaism God's house was Israel.  God's house in New Testament times is the Body of Christ.  As Moses was faithful to God's Old Testament house so Jesus is faithful to God's New Testament house.  You can count on that.      

 

A good way to understand the word "house" here is to understand it in terms of "household" or "family."  The writer is speaking of God's family here.

 

In verse 3 the writer makes a major statement.  He says that ďJesus has been found worthy of greater honour than Moses."  In verse 2 the author tries to elevate Jesus to the same level as Moses, but here in verse 3 he goes even farther.  Jesus is actually greater than Moses.  This may be a hard saying for these people to accept, but if they canít get over this fact, there is no use going on in the discussion.  Jesus is greater than Moses.  If these people refuse to believe this, then salvation cannot be found for them.

 

The author says that Moses was a faithful servant in Godís household, yet, Moses was still a servant.  Jesus is a servant too, yet He is far more than a servant as stated here.  He is the builder, the creator, of the household.  He is both builder of the household and servant in the household as well.  Therefore, the builder has to be more important than anyone living in the household.  The house here refers to Godís household, the family of God, the New Testament church.

 

By saying in verse 4 that "God is the builder of everything," the author is saying that Jesus is very much a part of God.  Jesus and God are being used interchangeably in this passage.  This is just another notation the writer makes to state the importance of Jesus.  Once again, this speaks to the Deity of Christ.

 

In verse 5 the writer says that Moses was a faithful man in God's Old Testament house.  This is interesting in light of the fact that Moses was not altogether faithful.  As a matter of fact, because of his disobedience, he was not permitted by God to enter the promised land, something I am sure Moses must have looked forward to.  Right in the beginning, when God called Moses back to Egypt to lead the Jews out of Egypt , he rebelled against the idea.      

 

The comparison between Moses and Jesus is seen in verse 6 in that Moses was a servant in God's house but Jesus is a servant over God's house.  In this sense, there is a huge difference between Moses and Jesus.  Both are servants but Jesus has a greater responsibility than Moses.    

 

Verse 6 specifically says that "We are Godís house."  No longer is there any need for a brick and mortar building, or a temple, as was the case in Old Testament times.  The temple of the Old Testament was symbolic and prophetic of something better to come.  The temple was symbolic of us, who are the dwelling place of the living God.  We as individuals have the Holy Spirit living in us, so we can say on an individual bases that we are the temple of God , yet, collectively speaking, we are also the temple of God as well.  Both concepts of the temple are used in the New Testament.  That being said, when understanding the word "house" as household or family, we see that the New Testament family of God are those who have given their lives to Jesus.  They aren't necessarily the family of Abraham.  

 

In verse 6 we also see the word "if."  He says if we hold on to our courage and hope we are that New Testament temple.  This might well suggest that if one gives up the faith he himself is no longer a temple of God and he is not a part of the temple of God .  This might well support the position that the author of Hebrews is writing to Jewish Christians who are being tempted to leave the faith they have in Jesus.

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