Summary: Jesus is greater than Moses
September 16, 2012
So far in our study we’ve seen that Jesus is far better than everything in creation. The early Hebrews reading this letter would have been tempted to doubt their faith in Christ because of intense persecution (12:3-4). You know, they might begin to wonder if He really could be the Messiah since He died such a terrible and early death, so the letter is meant to encourage them. And the main point is that Jesus is better; He’s better than the unnamed author, better than the prophets (1:2), better than creation (1:2, 10-12), and better than angels (1:7, 13-14).
And it’s not too hard to imagine someone asking, “Ok, if He’s so much better, why doesn’t it seem like it? I mean if He’s really God and King, how are all these people getting away with their crimes?” “But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (2:8-9).
Jesus hasn’t yet showed up as the roaring Lion because His plan of redemption isn’t finished. Think of Second Peter 3:8-12—“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” There’s a definite time when He’s coming back, and at that time we’ll see all things put under Him, but until then we see Him crowned with glory and honor bringing many sons to glory.
And so these people can have faith that He is the Messiah, and they are right to trust in Him.
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
This goes back to 2:11-13. Since we belong to Him and are one with Him, and since we partake of his heavenly calling, then we’re to meditate on Him. He is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession. Apostle means one who is sent. I think about all the places where Jesus tells us He is sent from God—“But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (John 5:36). As the Apostle of our profession, Jesus came to reveal the Father to us. You might say He represents the Father to us.
Now, as the High Priest, He represents us to the Father! Think of what comfort this would have been to those Hebrews! They knew firsthand about the high priest; they’d grown up watching him sacrifice animals and going, presumably, into the very presence of God on their behalf. We believe that He really is sent from God and that He stands before God for us. This is our confession, and so we meditate on Him,
2Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.
Now you have to picture yourself sitting with those first Hebrews. I can almost hear them gasp and see their jaws drop—“He’s comparing Jesus to Moses! He’s saying Jesus is better!” It’s one thing to say Jesus is better than angels and creation—that’s kind of abstract. But to say He’s better than Moses is something very close to home. It would be like if I said Jesus is greater than the Apostle Paul. I mean, we wouldn’t dare put ourselves up there with him; no one says, “I’m a greater missionary and preacher than Paul,” because he’s kind of the standard on the human level.
But Jesus is far greater than Paul and Moses, and the writer is about to show us why: