6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: The author contrasts Jesus and Moses. The Jews perceived Moses to be a great man, great prophet, great leader, and great lawgiver. Yet Jesus fulfilled all those roles as well―to a greater degree than Moses.


Tom Lowe

Lesson #11 [IC3]: SERVANT VS. SON (HEBREWS 3:5-6a)


The author has already briefly contrasted Jesus with the Old Testament prophets (1:1, 2) and more explicitly with the angels (1:3-2:18). Here he begins a contrast between Jesus and Moses. The Jews perceived Moses to be a great man, great prophet, great leader, and great lawgiver. Yet Jesus fulfilled all those roles as well?to a greater degree than Moses. Both Moses and Jesus were called by God and sent to help His people. Both ministered to people who were subject to powerful forces [whether the Egyptian Empire or the power of sin] and were being called to freedom, and both brought a message from God to provide clear direction for living in this world while anticipating a better one to come.

But as the writer contrasts Moses with Jesus, his imagery makes his point (3:2-6). Moses was a faithful servant in God’s house, but Christ was the builder. Moses was never anything more than a worker in God’s house which Jesus ruled as the Son of God. Jesus is clearly superior to Moses.

There is only one house of God and one people of God. Moses himself pointed ahead to the Christ who was to come. Jesus had said that Moses spoke of Him (John 5:45-47){1], and Paul wrote that Moses’ message was the same as his own; salvation through faith in Christ (Rom. 9:14-16){2]. So it is a fundamental assumption of the author of Hebrews that God’s church has run continually throughout all stages of history. He refers repeatedly to the people of God but never once distinguishes eras, or epochs or generations. In all ages, the people of God are those who are saved by persevering faith in Christ.

Scripture: Hebrews 3:5-6a (NIV)

5“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6aBut Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house.

The Holy Spirit of God said this through Moses’ pen about God the Son, “I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever” (1 Chron. 17:14). God means this. God will build a kingdom on this earth, and Jesus Christ is coming to establish that kingdom. It was the writer’s conviction that these ancient promises have been fulfilled through Jesus’ faithfulness to God, who appointed Him to be a faithful high priest in the service of God.

Moses was a servant in the house.

Jesus is the Son over the house

Servants come and go. Sons are sons forever.


The faithfulness of Jesus is the key to the argument in 3:1-6. The preacher readily acknowledges that Moses was faithful as a servant in God’s house. Jesus was also faithful. Jesus was also faithful, but He was faithful as the Son appointed to preside over God’s house. Faithfulness on the part of a servant is required; faithfulness in a son is an expression of pure love. The contrast between servant and Son throws into bold relief the superiority of Jesus to Moses.

Where does the superiority of Jesus over Moses lie? The picture in the mind of the writer to the Hebrews is this. He thinks of the world as God’s house and God’s family. We use the word house in a dual sense. We use it in the sense of a building and also in the sense of a family. The Greeks used oikos in the same double sense. The world is God’s house, and we are God’s family. But He has already shown us the picture of Jesus as the creator of God’s universe. Now, Moses was only part of God’s universe, part of the house. But Jesus is creator of the house, and the creator is bound to stand above the house itself. Moses did not create the Law; he only passed it on to the people. Moses did not create the house; he only served in it. Moses did not speak of himself; all that he ever said was only a pointer to the greater things that Jesus Christ would someday say. In short, Moses was the servant; but Jesus was the Son. Moses knew a little about God; Jesus was God. Therein lies the secret of His superiority.

Now, the writer to the Hebrews uses another picture. True, the whole world is God’s house; but in a special sense, the Church is God’s house, for in a special sense God brought it into being. That is a picture the New Testament loves [1 Pe. 4:17; 1 Tim. 3:15; and especially 1 Pe. 2:5{3]]. That building of the Church will stand and be indestructible only when every stone is firm; that is to say, when every member is strong in the proud and confident hope that he or she has in Jesus Christ. Each one of us is like a stone in the Church; if one stone is weak, the entire structure is endangered. The Church stands firm only when each living stone in it is rooted and grounded in faith in Jesus Christ.

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