Hebrews 3: 1 – 6
If there was any man that the Jews revered and had great respect for, it would be none other than that man who was born to that Levite family. God had given advance information to Abraham that His people (Jews) would be held captive in a strange land as pilgrims; but at a certain time appointed and pre-determined, He (God) would bring them out of bondage again to the Promised Land. By the promise made to Abraham, God was surely going to raise a man who would bring His people to where He would have them be; God had earmarked that this deliverer would be born in the way that He was born, and by providence would be brought up the way He was brought up and the many things that happened in his life.
Here we are with the Israelites in that strange land; they began to multiply and there was great fear that something strange was happening among these chosen people of God: God was with them and they continually multiplied. The King of Egypt (Pharaoh) was afraid that something strange could happen (the multiplying of the Israelites and their children could lead to them forming allies with Egyptian enemies) and the Nation could be plunged into what we can call in today’s world a coup de ta. The Egyptians got so irritated by the Israelites (called Hebrews, then); they couldn’t stand the Israelites and therefore treated them worse than ever, crushing them with slave labour. They made them miserable with hard labour—making bricks and mortar and backbreaking work in the fields. They piled on the work, crushing them under the cruel workload.
Pharaoh had gone into a meeting with some Hebrew women who were midwives; he gave them an instruction to kill the baby boys at birth saving the girls alive. Because of the fear of God, these Hebrew women saved the boys alive and gave an excuse to Pharaoh on why they couldn’t kill the baby boys. At a time, Pharaoh gave another order to throw the baby boys born at that time into the river; but God by providence had purposed that this deliverer would be born at this time and through Pharaoh’s daughter, he was adopted as an orphan from the Nile River and eventually grew up with the Egyptian Royal family.
Although he grew up amongst the Egyptians, something in him refuted oppression, which was played out when he killed an Egyptian because his fellow Israelite was been oppressed. This became known in Egypt and because of the fear of being killed, he fled across the Red Sea to Midian – this was where He encountered the God of Israel speaking to him from within a burning bush which was not consumed by the fire. Through some signs, he was convinced that God was with him as he was sent back to Egypt to ask for the release of his fellow brothers and sisters from slavery.
Through the many plagues unleashed on Egypt, he led an exodus out of Egypt and across the Red Sea after which they stayed at Mount Sinai where he received the Ten Commandments. He died after forty years in the wilderness within the sight of the Promised Land in accordance to the pre-determined plan of the sovereign Lord.
He is very much honored amongst the Jews today as the “Law giver of Israel”, who aside from the Ten Commandments, delivered other laws and ordinances in the course of the four books he authored (Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers). He is also regarded as the author of the book of Genesis, making a total of five books, which are all together called the TORAH – the first and the most revered section of the Jewish Bible today.
His name means, “drawn out of water” – His name is Moses.
I have said all these because the next section of the Book of Hebrews is about to address a touching matter to his audience – he is about to get into issues that concern someone they had great respect for. He has spoken about how Jesus is God; he has spoken about how Jesus is greater than angels and now he is about to tell them that Jesus is also greater than Moses. He had to get their attention once again so that they could consider and have their focus on Jesus whom God called His Son; the One who had to leave the splendor in Heaven; the One who came in the likeness of sinful flesh (He came as man), suffered and tasted death for every man thereafter, so that those who would believe in Him will never die.
The writer towards the end of the second chapter called Jesus the Son of God (Apostle) and a great High Priest. No one had those combined title and office; you either have one or the other. The inspired writer of this Book is making a clear-cut demarcation and presentation that Jesus was a great High Priest and would have to compare Him to none other than Moses. Therefore, to the group who had accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior but were facing tremendous persecution, he directed his speech. He called their attention back to consider Jesus again like he did from the beginning of the Book.
He told them Jesus was faithful in that He left Heaven, came down to planet Earth to become a subject to the ones He created; not only was Jesus faithful, he told them that just as Jesus was faithful, Moses also was faithful but there is a difference in their faithfulness. He presents Jesus as a centerpiece to all and everything that God had made.
Here is the difference: Moses is faithful over God’s House presents a picture that Moses was employed as an attendant over the house. Jesus however is not an attendant over God’s House but He built the House. He told Peter that He (Jesus) would build the Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. There is also a difference between the builder of a house and the keeper of the same house. Moses was very faithful as he kept God’s House but Jesus built the House, therefore this inspired writer would then declare that there is more glory to the one who builds in comparison to the one who keeps the built house.
Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house.
To the first group of Jews who had already committed (it was a call to abandon Judaism completely), the writer encourages and puts their mind at rest, that indeed they were God’s house, if they can keep their courage despite the persecution and trials whilst remaining confident as they put their hope in Christ.
So, just as the Angels were shown to be but ministering (serving) spirits, Moses is also a servant in God’s House but Jesus is the Son, the High Priest and never a servant; which then implies that Jesus indeed is greater than Moses and everything that Moses did was a shadow of the real thing that was to come.
“Even Moses could not carry those tables in his hand without breaking them, nor can I do any better than he did. Terrible is the plight of the man who has to depend upon what Sinai can give him; he is wretched in life, he shall be troubled in death, he shall be lost forever in eternity.” – C.H Spurgeon