Hebrews 3:1-6 Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 15, 2012 AM
There are some things in life that are better than other things. Peanut butter and jelly is better than plain bread and butter; homemade cookies are better than cheap store-bought ones and college football is better than pro football any day of the week! Of course some may disagree with my assessments, but there is one arena where we cannot disagree as to what is better and that is in the spiritual assessment between God’s Messiah and God’s Messenger. That is between Moses the messenger and Jesus the Messiah.
The writer of Hebrews continues in his evaluation of just how much grandeur Jesus is than people’s old views of spirituality. The old contract was finished and the new one has come into service. In his assessment between Moses and Jesus the author of Hebrews makes it very plain that there simply is no contest between the two individuals. It is almost like watching a boxing match or smack down wrestling. Let’s discover for ourselves just why Jesus is better than Moses is as we look at “Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!”
My father and I used to sit and watch the old professional wrestling shows on TV when I was a kid. Guys like Gorgeous George and the Masked Marvel were the stars of the era. The author of Hebrews gives us a blow-by-blow assessment between Moses and Jesus. It almost is like a Smack Down wrestling match. It’s “Moses vs. Jesus: Smack Down!” The bell rings and we discover that…
I. Jesus Is the Builder! (Vv. 1-3)
“Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” (Hebrews 3:1-3 NIV)
1. Notice we are called “Holy brothers” and all people are considered such “who share in the heavenly calling” of Jesus Christ! In fact, we are admonished to “fix your thoughts on Jesus.” Why would the author tell us that? Because Jesus is the main messenger “apostle” of God’s gospel to mankind and he is the “high priest whom we confess!” Both Moses and Jesus were faithful to God, but only one was both “the apostle and high priest whom we confess!” We can never confess Moses only Jesus! But also notice that verse 3 says that Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses in relation to God’s house. And the answer is obvious: Jesus is the builder of the house and Moses is only a part of the house! Look at what he writes in verse 3: “Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” In other words he is saying: Jesus is to the people of God as a builder is to a house. Moses is simply one of members of God’s household. Therefore Jesus built everything Moses based his life’s purpose on! Jesus built the Law of Moses in the first place! Now think about that for a moment. Certainly “Moses was faithful in all God’s house” but Jesus was the Heavenly high priest and apostle who made the house! Before Moses was born Jesus was with God in the beginning and when Moses hiked up the hill to receive the Law of God, Jesus had already written it! But more than this: Jesus is the one who brought us a heavenly calling from God and made us a way to God that is far better than the temple or the law! On him hangs all our hope of heaven. If we have any confidence this morning that our sins are forgiven and that we will persevere in faith and attain heaven, this confidence depends on Jesus who is the builder of the house of God!
EXAMPLE: As the Olympics are about to begin, we don’t have any difficulty realizing that only one person is worthy of more glory than all the others in their perspective competitions. There’s more glory in gold than in silver, and more honor in silver than in bronze. Jesus is worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house is worthy of more glory than the house. Jesus is worthy of as much more glory than every gold medal winner of the Olympics as the builder of a house is worthy of more glory than the house. Jesus as God’s apostle and high priest made the gold, the competitors, and the house! Jesus is the builder of the house! Round one goes to Jesus!
But more than that, like a wrestler pinned to the mat and as the hand of the referee comes smacking down in the final count we quickly learn that…
II. Jesus Made Moses! (Vv. 3-4)
“Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” (Hebrews 3:3-4 NIV)
1. We learned above that “Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses” because “just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.” The inference here is also to be a transition into the next point the author is making, namely that Jesus made Moses! In fact, as we resume we discover that verse 4 continues this notion by stating, “For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” And since Jesus is God, he made everything including Moses! Make no mistake about this theological fact, Jesus is God and not some other god in embryo or little created god-man. Jesus related, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 NIV) “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58 NIV) “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9 NIV) And both Paul and John referred to Jesus as “God and Savior” and “true God and eternal life”! (Titus 2:13 & 1 John 5:20) Jesus is the builder of the house because he is God! Now stand back and again consider the ramifications for our lives. If Jesus made Moses, the temple, and the Law of God, that means he made you and he made me! If this is true, then Jesus wins this bout with Moses simply because he made it all possible in the first place!
EXAMPLE: It would be as if the Olympic decathlon athletes were all gathered together in the locker room bragging about which one was the greatest, and Jesus comes in and quietly listens. One brags, “I threw the javelin farther than anyone else. I’m the greatest!” Another says, “I put the shot farther than anyone else. I’m the greatest!” Still another boasts, “I jumped higher than anyone else. I’m the greatest!” And then Jesus standing in the corner calmly states, “I made wood for the javelin, the minerals for the shot put, and the field you practiced on. In fact, and I made all of you. I made your arms, your legs, and your hearts and therefore I am the greatest.” Just as the author of Hebrews writes that Jesus made Moses and therefore Jesus is greater than Moses. Round two goes to Jesus!
The match is almost over. The crowd is in anticipation of who will win the bout. And as if hurdled to the ropes of the ring, the opponent learns…
III. Jesus Is the Son; Moses Is Only A Servant! (Vv. 5-6)
“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” (Hebrews 3:5-6 NIV)
1. There is a difference if you are an employee of the boss or the boss’ son! Here we learn this truth anew. Moses was a servant in the house of God and Jesus is the Son over the house of God. The difference between a servant and a son is that the son, by inheritance, owns the house, and is Lord over the house, and provides for those in the house out of his wealth. But a servant doesn’t own anything in the house, and the servant obeys the word of the owner! The servant receives his provision from the owner. So again, Jesus, as a son, is superior to Moses in these three ways: 1) he owns the house of God; 2) he rules the house of God and 3) he provides for the house of God! By contrast Moses is just hired help in the house of God! He doesn’t own it; he doesn’t rule it; and he doesn’t provide for it from his wealth. He only sweeps the floor if asked to do so! So consider Jesus in relation to Moses. The writer of Hebrews wants us to apply this superiority of Jesus to ourselves! He relates, “And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” The church is the house of God today! The redeemed members are the church and Jesus is the owner, the ruler, and the provider of his church, his household! He’s the son; we are the servants. He is our title-holder, our Master, and our source for all things! We are his house, his people, and partakers of a heavenly calling “if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” Jesus is the son and Moses was only a servant, round three goes to Jesus!
EXAMPLE: Wouldn’t it be surprising for all of us as we watched the Olympics and during the medal ceremony the person who won the gold medal Greco-Roman Wrestling did not show up for the presentation but instead someone else took their place? They dramatically announce, “Ladies and gentlemen, I worked hard, followed all the rules, and I am a nice guy so I deserve the gold medal!” We would demand the medal got to the one who actually won it! This is what the readers of Hebrews were struggling with concerning their faith. They thought they deserved their salvation because they followed Moses and all the laws, but like being placed on the ropes in a wrestling match they discovered Jesus is the son and Moses was only a servant!
Moses hoped in the law of God. Many in Jesus’ day hoped it was sufficient to save them if they routinely followed it to the letter. Let me ask you, “What are you hoping in this morning?” We discovered Jesus is the builder, Jesus made Moses, and Jesus is the son; Moses was only a servant!
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.