Hebrews 3:1-6 Jesus Greater Than Moses
Intro: Oswald Sanders summarizes his great book called Spiritual Leadership saying, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Leadership has been defined by the single word, “influence.” Whether a large fortune 500 company or your family, your leadership heavily influence outcomes, both positive and negative.
Usually when the topic of leadership is brought up, it is about becoming a better leader. Our text this morning takes a different angle focusing not on leading but being led.
Whether you are a natural leader or more of a follower, you are being led by someone. This is why the Lord Jesus called the masses sheep. Some who were lost, wandering, aimless, and wayward and some who were rescued. Some are in the fold, hear the Shepherd’s voice and follow. Everyone is a sheep. The question is not whether you will be led but whether you will be led by Jesus Christ?
To be clear, our text is not bifurcating who we are led by in terms of good and bad. Heavenly or Hellish. Christ or the world. Christ or Satan. No! Our text urges believers over being led by Good or by Great. From good to what is best. Between Moses and Jesus.
If following someone as good as Moses is an end in and of itself, you will fall short of heaven. This is what the remainder of chapter 3 points out. The author quotes Psalm 95, the record of one massive historic failure in the life of God’s people!
Verse 9 talks of the first generation who followed Moses out of Egypt, wandered, complained, doubted, digressed, blasphemed 40 years, who fell down and fell short of the Promised Land.
Verse 16 questions this mass of humanity who had “heard and yet rebelled” (v. 16). “Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses?” The issue wasn’t with Moses or his leadership. The issue was the people’s misplaced focus!
They complained: Egypt’s after us to kill us! The food’s bad! There’s giants in the land! We had it better in Egypt. Moses, you have failed us!
Moses was not a bad leader, he was a good leader but he was never meant to be the focus! God was! As I stated at the start of Hebrews, this point is “perseverance.” Running the race all the way to the finish line!
How do you do this? Hebrews 3:1 “Consider Jesus” (v. 1). Anything less than being led by Jesus falls short in this life and will fall short in the next! What does it look like to follow Jesus?
Following Jesus is considering Jesus
- Christ, a better Savior (v. 1)
Jesus is your “brother.” Remember Jesus is a sympathetic brother but he isn’t your only brother for when you come to this brother, He introduces you to the rest of the family. You are met with “holy brothers” who share something together.
“Holy brothers” have all been summoned from heaven. Every Christian who has ever lived should know about his or her “heavenly calling.” It’s your elder brother Jesus who personally called out to you by name!
Think of Jesus calling his disciples by name. Peter and Andrew, “follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” He summoned James and John! He summoned Peter saying, “come” out on the water. When Jesus newly raised spoke to his disciple, “Mary” and in the garden who turned saying back in Aramaic, “Rabboni” (Jn. 20:16).
The key imperative of this section is the command to “consider Jesus” (v. 1). This isn’t a passing glance but thinking hard! Believers need to “consider” or to “think hard about being called” or wanted. To “consider” is a fixed gaze! This is a daily commitment! Believer’s “consider” or think hard about having Jesus and Jesus having you. To Zacchaeus He said, “…hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today” (Lk. 19:5).
He is called “the apostle” meaning he was sent as God’s emissary. Jesus left heaven to call you and claim you. This is the only time Scripture designates Christ as “apostle” (v. 1). He is the only way! In this sense, Jesus is in his own league. There is no better apostle or emissary who represents God or the Gospel. Not Moses, not Paul! Jesus is the better “apostle” sent to save (v. 1).
Jesus was not only sent down here to come into your life; Jesus came down here to take you back with him to heaven.
- Christ, a better Priest (vv. 1a-2)
Jesus’ calling moves in two directions. It comes from heaven and it returns to heaven! Jesus enters your life to take you back with him to heaven. He was sent not only to bring the Gospel but to also mediate the Gospel which is “our confession” (v. 1).
Verse 2 makes Christ’s mediatorial work living and organic. Jesus built the bridge from our lives to God through being a “faithful” high priest. He brings us to God by living a life of perfect submission to his Father’s will. In John’s Gospel Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me” (Jn. 6:38).
The writer argues from the greater to the lesser, from Jesus to Moses. Moses is a good example of “faithfulness”, a priest or mediator of sorts. Going back to chapter 1, Jesus is better than the prophets, better than the angels, and now he is better than Moses.
Without the Jew’s mindset it is easy to say, “This is anticlimactic! However, for a Jew, Moses was very compelling. They held Moses in a unique space.
Moses was set apart, spared from being slaughtered as a baby by Pharaoh, poetically drawn up out of the water by Pharaoh’s daughter, raised in Pharaoh’s house, summoned by Yahweh in a burning bush to free God’s people from slavery. Performed miracles, leading the Israelites across the Red Sea, begging to behold God’s glory, speaking to God face to face as a friend. He was the direct recipient of the Ten Commandments, the Law of God, where Moses and the Law became synonymous (Jesus fulfilling the Law plays into this). Moses authored Holy Scripture, writing the Pentateuch.
A perfect man? No. Still someone in the eyes of the Jews who ranked higher than ministering angels!
The author now argues from the greater to lesser! From Jesus to Moses. The phrase “Moses also was faithful in all God’s house” is a direct reference from Numbers 12:6-7 where in verse 6 Moses is called “a prophet among you” where “the Lord make(s) [himself] known to him in a vision” who speaks [Heb: ‘mouth to mouth’] with [God].”
For the Jew it was hard to think of anyone who stood closer to God!
Instead of disrespecting Moses, he begins with praise. Jesus and Moses have something in common, faithful as mediators for God. Jesus was faithful to his Father and “Moses was faithful in all God’s house” (v. 2) meaning Moses participated as a faithful leader within the household of God!
Verse 3 makes a sharp transition now arguing the lesser to the greater. Moses to Jesus! What Moses does not share in common with Jesus!
- Christ, a better Builder (vv. 3-4)
“Do you remember the ‘glory’ God associated with Moses?” When Moses received the Law of God, the Old Covenant, the glory of God shone on Moses’ face. This was God’s witness that Moses was in the presence of God.
The association of “worth”, “glory”, and “honor” of Christ is not a quantifiable comparison between Moses and Christ! The writer is saying that comparing the glory of Christ with the glory of Moses is like comparing an inanimate object – a “building” – with an architect!
A human “builder” made in the image of God can engineer, design, and put together a house. A house can just be built.
“Which has more honor, the art or the artist?” Artwork always reflects back to the Artist! The master.
My wife introduced me to classical music. It is safe to say that my musical tastes were pretty stunted before marriage. Early on, I was introduced to Yo Yo Ma, specially him playing Bach in Cello, in G major. It was an acquired taste but simply by spending time around a masterpiece. Whether sermon preparation or writing a dissertation, I came to the place where I could not settle for less!
With Christ it is the same way. Remember, following Jesus is considering Jesus! Spending time with Jesus until his influence shapes your life.
Verse 4 as a matter of fact establishes the principle that “…every house is built by someone” but then raises the ante that, “…the builder of all things is God” (v. 4). So, now we aren’t simply talking about human architects and buildings, we’re talking about “the builder of all things” (v. 4).
“How different is Jesus from Moses?” Moses is a man. Jesus is a man and Jesus is God! Moses was alive, an active participant in life. Jesus made life, sustains life.
“Considering this Jesus is being led by this Jesus!” Anything less and we are being led by what is lesser! To a wholly lesser outcome!
- Christ, a better Son (vv. 5-6)
Verse 5 swings back to Moses with another positive note. The same phrase is used of Moses at the end of verse 2., “Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house” (v. 5).
Designation Moses as a “servant” is not negative! It means he was participating within God’s “household” (v. 5). A servant-leader who was a part of the family of God! Verse 5 explains Moses’ purpose as a servant-leader, “…to testify to the things that were to be spoken later” (v. 5).
Two things come to mind when I think of something “spoken of later” (v. 5).
First, the whole Exodus story of redemption foreshadows and illustrates Gospel redemption!
Second, do you remember Jesus’ words to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus? Jesus beginning with the Law and the prophets said all of the Scriptures testify of Him (Luke 24).
Moses and his life was clearly a type of Christ! Spared as a baby, a messenger of redemption for Yahweh, Moses pictured Christ in the Old Testament.
But, now Christ has come!
Verse 6 contrasts Christ with Moses saying, “but Christ is faithful over God’s house (‘household’) as a son” (v. 6).
This draws us back to chapter 1:2, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (1:2). The Son is the penultimate Revelator of God. “The Son” represents God to this world because the son of God is the same substance and essence of God! The only option to follow is the Son. Moses was undisputedly a very good leader! Jesus is God’s Son! Your choice?
This should be obvious. There are many lesser leaders who are good, but none compare to God’s Son, Jesus. Following Jesus is considering Jesus!
The end of verse 6 can sound like a contradiction to grace. “And we are his house” (v. 6). We are part of Jesus’ household – the church “if” (v. 6). If what?
“If we hold fast” or “cling to” “our confidence” which is the Gospel.
By a faith that’s vibrant! “…boasting in our hope” (v. 6). Unashamed!
To understand this verse you need to understand that this is not teaching that our salvation is conditional based upon our performance.
The only condition placed on our salvation is whether or not God alone saved you in the first place!
Put another way, salvation that’s genuine, perseveres! Tying this all together. A true Christian follows Jesus to heaven. He/She knows Jesus is better and follows Him through life to the end!
Conclusion: Everything comes down to answering the question, “Who are you following?”
“Considering Jesus” makes Him the only choice.
Following anyone, less than Jesus to satisfy your life and to grant you eternal life is settling and will cause you to miss heaven!
Do not settle for anything less than Jesus!
“Consider” the One who died in your place to absorb the penalty of your Sins!