Sunday, 27 April 2014

HEBREWS 3:1-6 JESUS IS GREATER THAN MOSES

Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,
2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.
3 or Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses--as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honour than the house itself.
4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)
5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later,
6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Who is your hero? Who do you really admire? Who in your estimation is a really great man or woman?
British Man of the Millennium - Winston Churchill
A vote at the start of the new Millennium AD 1, man of the BC period there would only have been one winner - MOSES!
Moses had turned his back on a life of privilege as Pharaohs daughter's adopted son to be identified with the people of God.
He had Liberated them from slavery in Egypt, standing up to Pharaoh, performing many signs and wonders.
He then formed them into a nation at Mt Sinai
He had given them the LAW of MOSES
He had written the first holy scriptures: Genesis to Deuteronomy
He interceded with God for the nation saving them from God's anger. God said he was going to wipe out the people and offered to make Moses into a nation instead. Moses pleaded for God not to do so.
Moses was the nations HERO.
God declared Moses' greatness: Numbers 12:1-9
De 34:10 And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,
Yes, when our author of Hebrews wrote this letter/sermon (a short word of exhortation) Moses would have won the vote for the man of the last 2 millennium's!
They didn't come any greater than Moses - or at least they didn't until Jesus Christ! Our writer invites us to consider Jesus, and in doing so to see and acknowledge that Jesus is greater than Moses!
Why does it matter who is greater?
It mattered to his first readers because they were being tempted to turn away from Jesus and all the persecution and suffering involved in being a Christian, and go back to Judaism. Rip the NT out of their Bibles and live by the OT. Join with the Jews in their, at that time, privileged position within the Roman Empire as having the freedom to practice their religion without being forced to adopt the pagan customs demanded of everyone else by the Emperor.
Why does it matter to us today whether Moses or Jesus is greatest?
Who wants to follow second best?
If Jesus really is the Son of God, then we should listen to him, believe in him, and follow him. We would be foolish not to do so.
That means we should be fearless in proclaiming Jesus to everyone, including those of other religions. If Jesus is greater than Moses then is he not also greater than Buddha, Mohammed; and all other founders of religions?
Our writer will say: If Jesus is greater than Moses then we should be confident in him and the hope that he gives.
He will go on to say that we too should be faithful and can be faithful because we have in Jesus a merciful and faithful high priest.
Well, is Jesus greater than Moses?
1. CONSIDER JESUS' TITLES
The Royal titles: The Prince's style and title in full:His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM, AK, QSO, PC, ADC, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.
Jesus' titles - King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the Lamb of God; Saviour of the world; the Word; Son of God; Son of Man; Lord of Glory; Teacher; The Good Shepherd; and many others...
Here the writer gives just two: apostle and high Priest.
[1] High Priest - links back to previous section - 2:17 so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God.
The writer links his passages by using common words so we make a smooth progression from one section to the next.
He expounds on this description 'merciful and faithful high priest in reverse order:
(a) 3v1-6 he shows us the faithfulness of Jesus; speaks about our need for faithfulness 3v6b-4v14;
(b) and then 4v15-5v10 shows us Jesus' compassion as our merciful high priest.
[2] Apostle - means one sent. This is the only place Jesus is referred to as an apostle, yet the fact that he was one sent is seen elsewhere, especially in John.
John 7:29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.”
John 8:42 ... for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
The writer says that Jesus' offices as apostle and high priest is part of their confession. It is part of their core Christian beliefs. It is what they were taught and what they confess.
The early church knew their theology! The apostles taught them all that Jesus had taught them and sent them to teach. Paul said Acts 20:27 ...for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.
We need to know all this stuff in Hebrews!
The writer begins this section by saying: "consider Jesus,". Take time and meditate upon these things. Give Jesus your attention. Focus upon him.
Why is he saying all these things? Because he is concerned that they will not last the course; that they will give up the faith. They must remain faithful - and so must we. To do so we too need to consider Jesus.
He is our apostle and high priest.
Now Moses also acted as a priest - Ps 99:6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
And Moses was sent: Ex 7:16 And you shall say to him,(Pharaoh) ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, Moses was an apostle, although the title is not used.
That's not all they have in common.
2. CONSIDER JESUS' FAITHFULNESS
[1] Moses And Jesus Were Both Faithful -
v2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.
The writer is teaching us from the OT scriptures. One of the great values of the book of Hebrews is how it helps us understand the OT.
God's covenant with David that he would raise up one of his descendants 1 Chron 17:14 but I will confirm him in my house. In the LXX "I will make him faithful in my house."
The writer has already quoted 1 Chron 17:13 in Heb 1v5b "I will be his father and he shall be my son."
He is also bring in another passage - God's word to Eli after his two sons proved to be unfaithful priests: 1 Samuel 2:35 And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever.
Jesus is that Priest; and he is that descendant of David's.
Moses had also been a faithful servant of God in all God's house. This is an allusion to a verse from Numbers 12 that he will quote in v5; it comes from what God said about Moses to Miriam and Aaron when they challenged Moses' leadership.
Numbers 12v7 Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house.
[2] Jesus Is Worthy Of Greater Glory than Moses:
V3 or Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses--as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honour than the house itself.
V4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)
Moses was the greatest man of the last two millenniums; Jesus is the greatest of all time!
He makes this point by an illustration taken from the world of buildings and architecture.
What is greater: the building or the one who built it?
The answer is the builder.
Think of St Paul's Cathedral & Sir Christopher Wren.
"If you want to see my monument look around you!"
St Paul's Cathedral is a monument to the glory and honour of Christopher Wren.
The builder of the house should be given more honour than the house - God is the builder of all things. To him be the glory.
There is yet more in his comparison:
[3] Moses was a Faithful Servant In God's House; Jesus a Faithful Son Over God's House.
5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later,
6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son.
Who is the greater - a Servant or a Son? The answer is obvious: A servant is in the house, a Son is over the house. A Son is greater than the greatest servant.
This is not to belittle Moses! He was faithful. He spoke the word of God as God gave it to him. He testified to the things that were to be spoken later.
Moses was a reliable witness
Numbers 12:8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD.
Deuteronomy 18:15-19
Moses spoke about what was to come.
1 Peter 1:10-12
But Christ (first time he uses this title for the Son. Christ is Greek for Messiah, the anointed one.) He is over the house; he runs the house.
Moses is faithful in his position and task; the Son is faithful in his more exalted position and greater task.
Consider his titles - apostle and high priest.
Consider his faithfulness - as one over the house.
3. CONSIDER JESUS' HOUSE
What does he mean by house? We might at first think he is referring to the Tabernacle, the portable 'Temple'. But the writer helps us:
v6b And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
We are his house, we who are..v1...holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling,
We who are 'holy' set apart for God; we who share in a heavenly calling: a calling from heaven to follow Jesus and a calling to heaven.
2v10 - in bringing many sons to glory,
We are God's House. There is a condition - we must keep going! We must be faithful. We must endure.
We must hold fast - keep a tight grip on the Christian faith. Do not let it slip away.
A faith that doesn't keep going is not a saving faith.
We must keep our confidence. Christ is faithful. We can trust him. We can trust in the atonement he has made for our sins.
We must hold onto what we boast about and the hope we confess. We boast about Christ. We hope in what he has done, is doing and will do in saving us. He is taking us to glory! You cannot possibly turn away from him! How can you let him go! He is worthy of your confidence and that of the whole world!











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