Jesus: Worthy of More Glory than Moses
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. 3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
We Need Two Things
Human beings need two things: we need to hear from God and we need to go to God. We need a word from God and we need a way to God. We need to hear from God so that we know what he is like and what his purposes are for the world and what he requires of us. And we need a way to God because to be cut off from God in death would be darkness and misery and torment forever. So we have these two great needs: to hear from God and to go to God. We need revelation from him and reconciliation with him.
Now consider how Hebrews 3:1 addresses these two needs. It says to Christians:
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.
We Need a Word from God and a Way to God
Christians are people who have heard and believed a heavenly calling, and are therefore partakers of it, sharers in it—"holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling." It is a heavenly calling because it comes from heaven—from God. And it is a heavenly calling because it invites us and leads us to heaven—to God.
In other words this "heavenly calling" relates to the two great needs that we have: a word from God and a way to God. It's a heavenly calling, which means it is a word from heaven, a word from God. And it's a calling, which means it is meant to show us the way home to God. Christians are people who have been gripped by this calling. The word of God broke through our resistance, and took hold of us with the truth and love of Christ, and reconciled us to God and is now leading us home to heaven. This means that Christians are people of great hope. God has spoken from heaven, and made a way to heaven, and we have believed and our hope and confidence are firm.
And the reason our hope and confidence are firm is not because of ourselves. There are sinners of every kind in this room this morning—sexual sinners, lying sinners, stealing sinners, killing sinners, parent-disobeying sinners. The hope of a heavenly calling does not hang on our righteousness. If it did, we would be hopeless. Our hope and confidence hang on Jesus. This is why verse 1 continues: "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus." This is what we are doing this morning. This is what preaching is about. It is what Sunday School is about. It is what small groups are about. Considering Jesus.
We often think that considering Jesus is something that unbelievers should do. "Consider Jesus," we say to the seeker and the perplexed. And that's right. But this book of Hebrews is devoted to helping Christians consider Jesus. "Holy brethren, . . . consider Jesus." Well why say that? Don't holy brethren automatically consider Jesus? The answer is No. Remember the warning back in Hebrews 2:1, "We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it." The danger is constantly in our way that we will stop considering Jesus and become more interested in other things and drift away from the Word and perhaps never return and prove that we were never truly partakers of the heavenly calling. So Hebrews calls us (Christians!) again and again to "Consider Jesus."
Jesus Is the Word and the Way
The reason is that he is the only answer to the two great needs that we have. We need a word from God and way to God. We need revelation from God and we need reconciliation with God. And the point of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus is both. This is why verse 1 ends with two descriptions of Jesus: "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession."
These two descriptions of Jesus correspond to our two great needs: Jesus is our Apostle, and Jesus is our High Priest. Apostle means "one who is sent." So Jesus is the one sent from God to earth with the revelation of his heavenly calling. "High priest" means one who is a go-between, who offers a sacrifice so that there can be reconciliation. So Jesus is our high priest. Look back two verses to Hebrews 2:17 to see what this is more clearly: "He [Jesus] had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." That great phrase "make propitiation" means "make a sacrifice for our sins that brings God's anger at us to an end" and makes us friends.
So what the writer is saying is: You Christians, you who share in the calling of God from heaven to heaven, you have great confidence that you have heard from God (through your apostle) and you have great hope that you are going to God, loved and reconciled and secure, you Christians consider Jesus, think about Jesus, meditate on Jesus, listen to Jesus. Why? Because he is the Apostle from heaven who brought you your calling. And he is the final, once for all High Priest of God whose sacrifice of himself reconciled you to God and guarantees your homecoming to heaven. Consider Jesus, God's Apostle—the final word from God—and God's High Priest—the final way to God.
This whole book of Hebrews is written to help us consider Jesus. There is more to consider about Jesus than you could ever exhaust in this life. In chapter 1 the point was that Jesus is superior to angels. Jesus made and sustains the world (1:1–2, 10), but the angels run errands in it (1:14). In chapter 2 Jesus takes on human flesh and fulfills the hope of Psalm 8 for all his people (2:7–8): "You [O God] have made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, and have appointed him over the works of your hands; you have put all things in subjection under his feet."
And the point at every stage of this book is: Consider this Jesus! Ponder him. Fix your eyes on him. If your mind is like a compass moving through a world of magnets, making it spin this way and that, make Jesus the North Pole of your mental life that your mind comes back to again and again through the day.
Consider His Superiority over Moses
So we ask the writer of this book, and the God who inspired it, what do you want us to consider about Jesus today from Hebrews 3:1–6? And the answer is: Consider his superiority over Moses. Think about this. Ponder this. Focus on this. Why? Because in considering this, your confidence in your heavenly calling will be made stronger and your hope will be more bold.
There are two ways that Jesus is superior to Moses mentioned in verses 2–6 and what strengthens our confidence and our hope is not just the raw fact of Jesus' superiority over Moses; it's what we see about Jesus that makes him superior. Seeing Jesus in a fresh way in this text is what helps us "hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end" (3:6b).
So let's look at these two ways Jesus is superior to Moses. Verse 2 introduces the comparison and shows that both Jesus and Moses were faithful in God's house, which is a picture of God's people. "He [Jesus] was faithful to Him [God the Father] who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house." So first there is a comparison before there is a contrast. The writer is not putting Moses down. That's not the point. Moses was faithful in the household of God. The writer is quoting from Numbers 12:6–8 where God says,
Hear now my words: if there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, shall make myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. 7 not so, with my servant Moses, he is faithful in all my household; 8 with him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of the Lord.
When the writer turns now to contrast Jesus and Moses, it really means something because Moses was one of a kind in his day—with a more intimate relation to God than any other prophet.
Jesus Is Worthy of More Glory
So consider Jesus now; consider his superiority over Moses. First in verse 3,
For He [Jesus] has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.
Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses. As the Olympics come to an end, we don't have any difficulty tracking with the word "glory" and one person being worthy of more glory than another person. There's more glory in gold than in silver, and more in silver than in bronze. Unless of course you're injured, and in spite of the injury press on and do some phenomenal feat. Then there is another kind of glory that may bring even more praise than an individual gold medal.
Verse 3 says that Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses in relation to God's house. And he gives an astonishing reason. Because Jesus is the builder of the house and Moses is a part of the house. Look at it carefully. Verse 3: "[Jesus] has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses." In what way? "By just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house." In other words he is saying: Jesus is to the people of God as a builder is to a house. Moses is to the people of God as one of the people of God is to God's household. Therefore Jesus is Moses' builder. In short, Jesus made Moses.
Now let this sink in. "Consider" this! This is your Apostle and High Priest. He is the one who brought you a heavenly calling from God and made you a way to God. On him hangs all your hope of heaven. If you have any confidence this morning that your sins are forgiven and that you will persevere in faith and attain your heavenly calling, this confidence depends on Jesus. The greater and more glorious he is, the greater our hope and confidence.
Jesus Made Moses
It would be as if the decathlon contestants were gathered together one night bragging about who of them was the greatest, and Jesus was one of the decathlon contestants. And one said, "I threw the javelin farther than anyone else. I'm the greatest." Another said, "I put the shot farther than anyone else. I'm the greatest." Another said, "I jumped higher than anyone else. I'm the greatest." And eventually they all look toward Jesus in his burgundy sweat suit sitting calmly in the corner, and someone says, "What about you?" And Jesus says, "I made all of you. So I'm the greatest."
Verse 3: Jesus is worthy of as much more glory than Moses as the builder of a house is worthy of more glory than the house. Jesus is worthy of as much more glory than every gold medal winner of the Olympics as the builder of a house is worthy of more glory than the house. He made the house. He made Moses. He made the minds and hearts and legs and arms of the Olympic athletes. So Jesus is the greatest.
Verse 4 makes explicit just how great he is: "For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God." Verse 3 says that Jesus made the house of God. Verse 4 says that the maker of all things is God. Conclusion? The same as chapter 1: Jesus, the Son of God, is God. That's how great he is.
The word of our Apostle is a sure word because it is a word carried by God himself. The atoning work of our High Priest on the cross is a finished and all-sufficient work, because it has infinite value as the work of God himself. Consider this about Jesus: he made Moses. And he made you.
Jesus Is the Son; Moses a Servant
One other superiority of Jesus over Moses is mentioned in verses 5–6a: "Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house." Moses was a servant in the house of God. Jesus is a Son over the house of God. The difference between a servant and a son is that the son, by inheritance, owns the house, and is lord over the house, and provides for those in the house out of his wealth. But the servants don't own anything in the house, and the servants follow the word of the owner. The servants receive their provision from the owner.
So again, Jesus, as a Son, is superior to Moses in these three ways: he owns the house of God; he rules the house of God; and he provides for the house of God. By comparison Moses is just a servant in the house. He doesn't own it; he doesn't rule it; and he doesn't provide for it from his wealth. So consider Jesus in relation to Moses.
And the striking thing here in verse 6 is that the writer wants you immediately to apply this superiority of Jesus to yourself. Do you see how verse 6 ends: "Christ was faithful as a Son over His house whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end."
The church of Jesus Christ is the house of God today. Which means that Jesus this morning—not just back in Moses' day or in his own days on earth—but this morning is our Maker, our Owner, our Ruler, and our Provider. He's the Son; we are the servants. We are the household of God. Moses is one with us in this household, and he is our fellow servant through his prophetic ministry. But Jesus is our Maker, our Owner, our Ruler, and our Provider.
And the text concludes by saying we are his house—we are his people, we are partakers of a heavenly calling—"if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end." The evidence that we are part of the household of God is that we don't throw away our hope—Hebrews 10:35 says, "Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward"—we don't drift into indifference and unbelief. Becoming a Christian and being a Christian happen in the same way: by hoping in Jesus—a kind of hoping that produces confidence and boasting in Jesus.
What are you hoping in this morning this morning? Where are you looking for confidence. In yourself? In shrewd investing? In physical fitness programs? In hard work? In luck? The Word of God to you this morning is, "Consider Jesus." And hope in him. Then you will be part of his house and he will be your Maker, your Owner, your Ruler, and your Provider.
©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in physical form, in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For posting online, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. For videos, please embed from the original source. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org