Summary: Jesus is greater than Moses in three ways.
Shiloh Bible Church
Greater Than The Greatest
Great … greater … greatest. We often use these terms when we make comparisons. For example, in baseball we say that Mickey Mantle was a great homerun hitter, and that Babe Ruth was greater, but that Hank Aaron was the greatest. We describe athletes and artists, medical doctors and musicians, statesmen and scholars, using such comparisons as great, greater, and greatest.
The Jewish people also had their favorites—people such as Adam and Abraham, David and Daniel, Solomon and Samson. But the Jews considered Moses the greatest of them all. They thought Moses was the greatest …
It was Moses who led the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. And it was Moses who led the people of Israel throughout their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
The Jews also thought that Moses was the greatest …
Moses received the Law from God on Mt. Sinai. And Moses gave this Law to govern the nation of Israel. That’s why it’s referred to as the Law of Moses. To the Jews, the Law of Moses was the greatest thing in all the world. And you know that the Law of Moses included more than just the 10 Commandments. It also included the laws that governed the day-to-day lives of the people of Israel—how they were to relate to God and to one another and to those outside the nation. The Law of Moses included instructions for the priests and the sacrificial system and the tabernacle. Everything about Jewish life and religion reminded them of Moses—the giver of the Law.
So, the Jews regarded Moses as the greatest. They thought he was greater than the Old Testament prophets. The 12th century Jewish teacher Rabbi Maimonides proclaimed that Moses was so great that he “comprehended more of God than any man in the past or future ever comprehended or will comprehend.”
The Jews also thought Moses was greater than the angels. The 2nd century Rabbi Jose ben Chalafta declared that “God calls Moses faithful in all His house, and thereby he ranked him higher than the ministering angels themselves.”
To the Jews, Moses was simply the greatest. But as great as Moses was, there is someone who is even greater. And that someone is Jesus Christ. That’s what the writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 3.
It is our practice on here at Shiloh on Sunday mornings to teach through a book of the Bible passage by passage, consecutively working through the text. We are presently engaged in a study of the New Testament epistle to the Hebrews. And we’ve completed chapters 1 and 2. In 1:1-3 we saw that Jesus is greater than the Old Testament prophets. In 1:4-2:18 we saw that Jesus is greater than the angels. And now in chapter 3 we discover that Jesus is greater than Moses. And as I said, Moses was regarded as greater than the prophets or the angels. So to say that Jesus is greater than Moses is to make an astonishing claim. And yet that is exactly what the writer of Hebrews does.
In Hebrews 3:1-6, the writer says that Jesus is greater than Moses in 3 ways. First, he says that Jesus is greater in His …
Hebrews 3:1 states, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”
Notice that Jesus is referred to as our apostle and high priest. Now, our English word apostle is a transliteration of the Greek word. And the basic meaning of the word is “one who is sent forth.” And that’s what an apostle is—one sent forth to perform a task.
Now, Moses could be called an apostle—in the sense that he was sent by God to perform a task. God sent Moses to deliver the people of Israel from bondage and to lead them to the Promised Land. Likewise Jesus was an apostle. He was sent by the Father to perform a task. In His high priestly prayer, Jesus said in John 17:3-4, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”
So, both Moses and Jesus were apostles in the general sense of the word. Both were sent by God on a mission. But in addition to being an apostle, Jesus was also a high priest—which cannot be said of Moses. You’ll recall that it was Moses’ brother, Aaron who was set apart by God to be high priest over the nation of Israel. Therefore, Jesus is greater than Moses in His position—Jesus is both apostle and high priest.