By: Daniel Goepfrich
Jesus Greater than Moses
Hebrews 3 continues the writer’s subject of Jesus the Man and introduces his next major comparison. Not only is Jesus better than the angels, but he is also superior to Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6). For the Jewish readers, this was a significant claim, because no one in Jewish history is greater than Moses. He was the great law-giver, the one who faithfully led the Israelites from Egypt, oversaw the building of the Tabernacle, and mediated the Law between God and Israel. Until the Law system was established, Moses effectively served as prophet, priest, and king over Israel, the only one to do so until Jesus reigns in his Kingdom.
However great Moses was, the writer conceded that he was, like the angels, still only “a servant.” Moses may have served in God’s house, but Jesus is the “son over God’s house” (emphasis added). Moses may have overseen the building, but Jesus was the builder.
A Warning Against Unbelief
Preparing for the second warning to his readers, the writer once again opened the Hebrew Scriptures to exposit a psalm, this time Psalm 95 (Hebrews 3:7-11). The context is Israel’s coming to Kadesh-Barnea after leaving Egypt (Numbers 13-14). Instead of believing God and following Moses into the land, they rebelled and lost their promised inheritance, also called God’s “rest.”
This example led the writer to warn his readers of the danger of having “an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes the living God” (Hebrews 3:12-19). He reminded them that God punished those who rebelled and disobeyed against him by their “dead bodies [falling] in the wilderness.” They were kept out of God’s rest (their promised inheritance in the land) because of their “unbelief.”
This is true in its context. Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, is also a significant figure as is David, the great king. These three – Abraham, Moses, and David – are each most significant in their own contexts.
Each Thursday, DPH runs a Chapter-by-Chapter blog by Daniel Goepfrich, progressing readers chapter-by-chapter through the New Testament. This series is taken from New Testament Chapter-by-Chapter, published by Trust House Publishers, a division of DPH. Daniel serves as Pastor of Oak Tree Community Church in South Bend, Indiana, and blogs at www.TheologyIsForEveryone.com
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