Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses–as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. Hebrews 3:1-6
Today we tend to discount Moses’ importance. For a lot of us it is hard not to think of Charlton Heston when we think of Moses. Yet to a first century Jew Moses was more than someone in a Bible story, Moses was their savior. It was Moses who delivered the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. It was Moses who brought them to the doorstep of the Promised Land. Moses wrote the Torah, the first five books of the Jewish Tanakh. Moses was the greatest of God’s prophets so the Jews had a very high standard for anyone claiming to be the Messiah. So it should not surprise us when the Pharisees claimed to be disciples of Moses, John 9:28, when they were questing the blind man Jesus had restored sight to find out what authority Jesus did these thing.
Moses was also important to Jesus disciples and followers. After all it was Moses who appeared along with Elijah at Jesus transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-8. After Peter, James and John witnessed this event Peter wanted to make three tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. It mattered not if the first century Jew was a follower of distractor of Jesus, Moses was important to them.
Hebrews was written to the Jewish Christians. We can see this by the extensive references to the Old Testament. The writer was trying to show these people that Jesus was the final and complete revelation of all that was written of in the Torah and Tanakh. No one else and nothing else was needed. There was no reason to return to Judaism. We see this attempt to return to the old customs in Acts and in Paul’s writings. The so called Judaizers we attempting to require the Gentile converts to Christ to either become Jews first or at the very least follow Jewish customs. One of Paul’s trips to Jerusalem was to put an end to this debate.
It is not hard to understand to allure of returning to old ways. After all the Jews had a religious heritage stretching back thousands of years. But we do not need to be Jewish to long for the old ways. The old ways seemed so comfortable. Life seemed to be so much easier then. Jesus makes a lot of demands on us and in the old days we could just skate along with no worries. Jesus does make demands but He also tells us His yoke is light. Slaves always want to return to the old ways when we did not have to make choices. The Israelites had not even gotten out of Egypt before they wanted to return. A caged animal set free will roam an area the size of their cage and if allowed to will return to the cage. Jesus freed us from the bondage of sin but just like the Israelites or that cages animal we too want to return. But slavery no matter how easy is still slavery and it is not what God intended for us. He wants us to have the freedom only a bond slave to Christ can have.
Have a blessed day,