The Superiority of Jesus

Discuss the significance of Jesus’ superiority to Moses according to Hebrews 3. In what ways is Jesus superior to Moses according to Hebrews 3? What are the implications of that superiority for the original recipients of the letter? What are the implications for Christians today?

In Hebrews we see Jesus compared to many Old Testament characters. One of the single most important ones is the comparison to Moses in chapter 3. In here we see Jesus worthy of more glory and more honor. The pastor is conveying a message here regarding Jesus and the Old Testament. Some of this is going to be because his audience was likely Jewish making the correlation to the Old Testament would have been necessary. Part of this is because Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises, and another part would be to remind the audience they are not changing to a different religion but rather are seeing the next step in their faith. Cockerill describes this connection by saying “The pastor compares and contrasts this Person who is the proper object of their concern with Moses. In this way he sketches the Son’s connection with the ‘house’ or household of God, his relationship to previous revelation, and his superiority as the Savior of God’s people.”[1] This connection is vital, as it does set the tone for the pastor to continue comparing Jesus with Old Testament heroes, and expand on the extended analogy he is starting to build here and will continue to throughout the letter. With this analogy, we see Moses considered the servant of what was entrusted to him while Jesus was the faithful son. Basically what we can think of here is that Moses essentially worked for Jesus, and as such Jesus had more power and authority. The other way this is presented is an analogy between a house and the one who built the house. In this we see honor given to the one who works, while a house or any building may be impressive, it is still an inanimate object and the one who created the house or building is the one to whom praise, glory and honor is due.

In regards to the original audience, they would have seen this signifying several points, and some of which can be applied directly today, and others can be applied to the modern church through the timeless theological principle they represent. In short, “the author builds on the greatness of Moses and asserts that as great as this religious figure might be, Jesus must be the object of a Christians ultimate focus.”[2] There are specific things the original audience would have taken to heart, particularly in regards to the greatness of Moses that are often missed today such as his role in the nation or Israel and the Jewish people as a whole. But along with this, Christians can see that no matter who else may claim any kind of authority, they will always be second to the one who created them, second to Jesus.

[1] Cockerill, Gareth Lee, The Epistle to the Hebrew, Grand Rapids: William B Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 2012, 157.

[2] Guthrie, George. The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998, 133.

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