The Letter to the Hebrews: Believe in Better 3
Better than Moses
Welcome back to this mini series ‘Believe in Better’ within this month’s series on the Letter to the Hebrews. This is what the Jewish Christians of the day are being called to do: Believe in Better. They have their traditions: they’ve blazed the way as the only faith with one true God at the centre. But now it’s time to move on and discover a whole new way of living and behaving and relating to this God. The known is familiar however. It’s just how they’ve always done things. The unknown is a scarier territory. The writer to the Hebrews has therefore a huge job in moving the people from where they are now to where God wants them to be in relation to Him.
And that’s where this emphasis on better comes in. Yesterday, we looked at how Jesus is better than the prophets. Today, we look at what the writer says about Moses in Chapter 3.
In Chapter 3, the writer addresses the great dilemma of the Jewish Christians at that time – who is greater? Jesus or Moses? By highlighting the superiority of Jesus, the writer is not diminishing Moses. He is putting Moses in his rightful place, a place of great honour, in God’s redemptive history of His people.
The same God who delivered the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai has again spoken historically in Jesus. And Jesus did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfil it.
Chapter 4 speaks of a better rest for the people of God, not the one dictated by a tightly drawn legal system which had become more of a burden than the blessing that God had intended it to be. From The Letter to the Hebrews: an evaluative outline of the key themes and theological insights by Helen Redfern
Here’s the relevant section from the letter –
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 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 honour than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honour than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. Hebrews 3:1-4
Fix your thoughts on Jesus. That’s the key message here. Yes, God worked through plenty of individuals to bring about amazing things – and is still doing so – but Jesus is in a different league to any other human who has ever lived. Moses was a faithful servant of God, a key figure in the history of the Jewish people. He is the one who stood up to the Pharaoh with God’s message that the oppression of the Hebrew people had to stop. It was Moses who led the people out of slavery through the wilderness towards the Promised Land. It was Moses who received the Ten Commandments from God and delivered them to the people.
But however amazing Moses was, he was just a man. A man empowered by his God, yes, but just a man nevertheless. Jesus is God, different from every other man who ever lived, including Moses. Jesus is the one to follow, not Moses or any of the other prophets. Yes, these people can inspire us to share in God’s work on earth, but it should always be in Jesus that we place our confidence.