It is safe to say that whenever a Christian begins to decline spiritually—to begin drifting from the Lord, to be overtaken by doubts, temptations, dullness, etc.—it is the result of one main thing: the failure to rightly consider Jesus. Our most important daily responsibility is to look with a believing heart to Jesus from all different angles, beholding the greatness of His Person, His nature, and His work. This act of turning our eyes to Jesus and contemplating Him is the means that the Holy Spirit uses to strengthen us for endurance and perseverance in faith. By first reminding us who we are—holy brethren and partakers of a heavenly calling—the writer of Hebrews then calls us to consider Jesus from the particular angle of His superiority to Moses in three distinct ways:
I. Jesus is Faithful in All God’s House (verses 1-2)
At first, it doesn’t seem like these verses contain a statement of superiority, but of equality between the faithfulness of Jesus and that of Moses (i.e., “He was faithful…as Moses also was.”). But the superior faithfulness of Jesus is seen in the fact that He was given infinitely superior offices than those of Moses. Moses may have been faithful (though imperfectly) in the tasks he was appointed to under the Old Covenant, but his faithfulness in that role pales in comparison to the faithfulness of Jesus in His infinitely more important role as the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.
As Apostle, Jesus was sent by the Father into the world bearing the authority of the Father, representing the Father, and accomplishing the mission given to Him by the Father. He was faithful as Apostle to speak and do only that which had been given Him to speak and do by the Father. Jesus is also the Great High Priest, who was faithful to offer Himself as our atoning sacrifice and to represent us now in the presence of God as our Forerunner. Between these two offices, Jesus meets our two greatest needs: He comes and makes God known to us as the Apostle sent by God, and He takes us into the favorable presence of the Father as our High Priest.
- In pointing out the superior faithfulness of Jesus, the writer of Hebrews does not denigrate Moses—he doesn’t need to! The problem is not with Moses, but with the Hebrew Christians. They were attempting to appoint Moses to a position he was never meant to have. They were taking a good thing, and were making it into the thing trusted in and relied upon. Anytime we make anything other than Jesus the thing we rely on and trust in, it is idolatry and is setting us up for the worst kind of disappointment. What things, even good things, are you tempted to appoint to a position of “savior” to meet your great need, in ways that only Jesus can and must?
II. Jesus is the Builder of God’s House (verses 3-4)
While Moses was an important member of God’s house and has a certain honor, Jesus is not merely a member of the house but the Builder of it. As the One who builds God’s house is worthy of incomparably greater glory. Jesus is builder of the house both in that all things were made through Him, and in the sense that the church exists on the basis of His work as the only Savior. His work as builder is all the more glorious when you consider the materials out of which He has built God’s house. He has taken ruined and rebellious sinners and has accomplished for us our salvation and has made us justified, renewed, living members of the glorious household of God.
- Now, we don’t know all that the Hebrews Christians were experiencing at this point in time, but we do know one thing for certain: The claim that Jesus, as the builder of the house, is worthy of infinitely greater glory than Moses would not have been a popular claim among their unbelieving Jewish friends and family members. Imagine the consequences of that! they needed to have their minds called back to the One who is worthy and remember that to withhold the glory and honor from Jesus is to withhold it from the only One who is worthy of it. What about you? How do you handle situations where giving honor to Jesus might make you unpopular and unliked by the people around you? Pray that God would help you to have in your heart a deep, settled conviction that Jesus is worthy of all the honor we can give Him.
III. Jesus is the Son Over God’s House (verses 5-6)
While Moses was a servant in God’s house, Jesus is the Son over God’s house. There are two major differences that we should see between the Son and the servant. First, the Son is the owner of the house, the servant is not (i.e., “in” vs. “over”). Second, the servant’s ministry has the purpose of pointing to the Son, not vice versa (i.e., “.for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later.” Moses’s ministry had the purpose of calling attention to what God would do and say through His Son (John 5:46). The Law, the Tabernacle, the Exodus, the water out of the rock, the serpent lifted up, the manna, etc.—all of them, all that was spoken to Moses and done through Moses calls our attention to the Prophet like him that God would one day raise up (Deuteronomy 18:15).
- The story of God’s house is not about Moses; Moses’s role as servant is part of a story that is all about Jesus. In the same way, our role and responsibilities in the church among God’s people, and in all of life, is simply to point to the greatness of the Son. We are not members in God’s house to expect others to serve us (or become embittered if they don’t), but in order to serve the interests of the Owner. How do you view your role among the household of God? Is the preeminence of Christ as the Son over the house the motive of your service?