A few years ago our congregation did an extensive study of the exodus. After almost 400 years of slavery, the LORD chose a man named Moses to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage. Moses boldly confronted Pharaoh, who was stubbornly unwilling to let the Hebrews go. God sent a series of 10 devastating plagues upon Egypt until finally Pharaoh relented. However, only a few days after releasing them Pharaoh changed his mind and pursued the children of God to the shores of the Red Sea. The LORD miraculously parted the waters allowing the Moses and His people to cross, then closed them suddenly on the Egyptian soldiers who were following close behind so that they all drowned.
From there Moses led the children of God to Mount Sinai where they remained for almost 2 years. At Sinai the LORD gave them the 10 Commandments and the rest of the Law. From there, the people traveled to the edge of the Promised Land, but ultimately chose not to enter. As a result, they wandered in the wilderness for the next 38 years until virtually all of the original generation had died. Finally Moses brought them to the plains of Moab on the eastern border of Canaan. The Jordan River was all that separated them from reaching their long-awaited destination. There Moses graciously stepped down as leader, passing the torch to Joshua, and climbed atop Mt. Nebo where he died.
Moses is regarded and revered as one of the greatest prophets and leaders in Jewish history. God used Moses to rescue His people from Egyptian captivity. His faithful obedience to God’s call upon his life led to the deliverance of the Hebrew children. Yet, even in light of his great significance, the writer of Hebrews explains that Jesus is superior to Moses. As we resume our sermon series this morning, we will begin to explore this topic deeper in a message called “Better than Moses”.
I. A COMPARISON (verses 1-3a)
The writer of Hebrews invites his readers to “consider Jesus” on the basis of that which he has already discussed in chapters 1 & 2. Notice that his describes his readers as “holy brethren” and “partakers of a heavenly calling”. Certainly they were people who had heard the gospel message and showed some degree of allegiance to the church. This does not necessarily mean, however, that they were all saved.
Jesus is called “the Apostle and High Priest of our confession”. An apostle is one who is sent. The high priest was the one who offered sacrifices in order to make atonement for the people. Therefore, these 2 titles together describe Jesus as the One who was sent by God in order to make a sacrifice that would secure the LORD’s forgiveness of humanity’s sin and bring about the reconciliation of God and man.
Jesus was “faithful” to God “who appointed Him”. He willingly and obediently followed His Father’s will by giving His life on the cross. Jesus’ faithfulness to God made the salvation of mankind possible. In similar fashion, Moses was also faithful “in all His house”. In other words, Moses’ faithfulness to God was demonstrated by His loyalty to the people of God’s house - ie, the children of Israel. Moses saved them from the yoke of Egyptian oppression. But while both men were faithful, Jesus has “been counted worthy of more glory than Moses.” Why?
II. A CORRELATION (verses 3b-6)
“The builder of the house has more honor than the house.” This statement forms the basis of the correlation made in these verses. Houses don’t just come into being on their own. Someone has to design the structure and then put it all together. That someone is responsible for the creation of the house. Spiritually speaking, Jesus is that builder and the house represents His people. Simply put, Jesus is greater than mankind.
Notice in the previous verses that Jesus was described as being faithful to God, while Moses was described as being faithful to God’s people. This distinction is intentional in order to make a particular and important point. Seeing that God is greater than mankind, logically the One who is faithful to God is thereby greater than the one who is faithful to His people. This reasoning is used to show Jesus’ superiority over Moses. Furthermore, if Jesus is the builder of the house and God is the builder of all things then Jesus is God.
Moses sacrificially served the people of God during the exodus. His actions have been persevered in the writings of the Old Testament and are a vivid “testimony” to the work of Christ. His deliverance of the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage foreshadowed Jesus’ redemption of mankind from their slavery to sin. But while Moses was a “servant” in God’s house, Jesus is a “Son” over God’s house. Again, God’s house is made up of all born-again believers whose “hope” and “confidence” is in Christ.
Before leaving this point, it is important to point out that faithfulness to God and faithfulness to His people are not mutually exclusive. The contrast being made in these verses is a literary device used to highlight Jesus’ excellence. It doesn’t imply that someone can’t be faithful to both. Obviously faithfulness to God will naturally result in some level of faithfulness to His children. Jesus and Moses serve as examples of this truth.
III. A CONSEQUENCE (verses 7-11)
In these verses, the writer cites an Old Testament passage found in Psalm 95:7-11. While this ancient Psalm was written by David, he was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as he wrote. Thus these words are rightly attributed here as a quotation of the Holy Spirit.
The author of Hebrews urges his readers to hear and submit to the LORD’s voice, unlike their predecessors who were deaf to it during the exodus. Under Moses, the people had rebuked and rebelled against God in a multitude of ways. They grumbled, complained, and doubted constantly. As a result, they provoked the LORD’s wrath and were forced to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. They were not permitted to enter into the Promised Land, the place of God’s rest. Instead this privilege was passed to their children.
Moses plainly declared that God’s will for the Hebrew children was to enter into and take possession of the Promised Land. He bravely led them to Kadesh Barnea and positioned them perfectly to accomplish the LORD’s directive. However, ignoring all that God had miraculously done for them up to that point, the people disobeyed Him and refused to enter Canaan due to their misplaced fear and anxiety. Consequently, they missed out on the rest He had set aside expressly for them.
I want to close the message today by pointing out a few similarities between Moses and Jesus. Perhaps they will help us better appreciate both of these remarkable men.
- Moses was sent to Egypt from his home in Midian, while Jesus was sent to Earth from His home in Heaven.
- Moses was sent to deliver God’s people from Egyptian captivity, while Jesus was sent to deliver sinners from their slavery to sin and death.
- Moses successfully brought the people out of Egypt, but did not take them into the Promised Land. Jesus died to secure the forgiveness of all sinners, but does not compel them to receive it.
God crushed Pharaoh and the Egyptian army thereby setting His people free. Likewise, Jesus forever defeated sin and death and set sinners free. But freedom from bondage is useless if one chooses to remain in it! Though they had been rescued, the children of Israel opted to wander in the desert and to die outside of God’s will. How many sinners will continue to grope around in the darkness while neglecting the light of salvation that Jesus freely offers?
My friend, there is absolutely no excuse for rejecting Christ. Jesus has delivered you from your captivity to sin. Nothing or no one prevents you from receiving the forgiveness that He offers. It is now wholly up to you. Will you place your faith in Jesus and allow Him to bring you into the promised rest that He has prepared for you, or will you languish for all of eternity in the barren wilderness separated from God?