Yesterday at bible study, Pastor Aaron went over Hebrews 3:1-6, which makes a bold declaration that Jesus Christ is better than Moses. The theme of Hebrews is the preeminence of Christ, and we’ve addressed a number of topics: the attributes of the Son, Christ as superior to angels, Christ as the man who perfectly reigns, and Christ as the perfect high priest.
The best part of this study if finding your own application of the preeminence of Christ because my struggles are seemingly much different from the Hebrew people. I do not struggle with loyalty to a tradition of priests and shedding of blood, but rather an unfortunate complacency and ignorance to the law of God. I’m almost the opposite of the intended audience, the Jew. I do not lay claim to my self-righteousness nearly as much as I try to justify sin (well, in my opinion anyway).
The first question posed for discussion yesterday asked how we have considered Christ (to think deeply upon) in light of what we have learned up to now. This was uncomfortably shameful because I realized how little I’ve been meditating and applying the messages. Messages about how Christ reigns supreme over angels and how Christ has restored our privilege to subdue the Earth have been encouraging but not life altering. I need to be less selective on what I choose to apply; it seems to be a pride issue. Regardless in light of the supremacy of Christ over Moses, one point of application became clear.
The problem the Jews had been that they held Moses, both a faithful servant and a competent mediator, in too high a regard when compared to Christ. Moses has great value to the Jew: he brought forth the ten commandments and introduced a set of laws that would represent the standard of righteousness (through faith) until Christ ascended. At first glance the parallels and application to the 21st century seem obsolete but upon closer examination, I can see many potential idols developing in my own life.
Here’s what I mean: the Jews had great respect for Moses because he was an appointed lawgiver, a mediator between the will of God and the passion of the people. While it is true that we no longer need sinful men to intercede on our behalf and petition God because of Christ’s work (Hebrews 2:17-18), in a sense there still is a need for a mediator between God’s specific revelation and His people. There is a dire need for shepherds and mentors to feed, protect, and provide for their congregation and for individuals. This is where it becomes a little dangerous.
When I look at the Jews in this light, I see my stumble as well. It’s much easier for people to look to men (whether past or present), because they are tangible and visible evidences of the glory of God. The common Jew has never heard the voice or seen the light of the Almighty. While they have faith in the law and what it prescribes, surely their respect for their teacher sometimes was dangerously high. The mediator can steal the honor and praise that deservedly belongs to the Lord.
I undoubtedly struggle with the same things. I have a great appreciation for good preaching, and even more respect for those who are sound and have time to meet up and talk to me. While they may not have been foundational for any biblical covenants, certain men and women have profoundly encouraged me and have been instrumental in my growth. Sometimes these men loom as large as Moses to the Jew in terms of their importance. In a sense, the pastor and mentors can steal reverence from God for merely being faithful to the One they serve. I’m sure Moses never considered that centuries later, people would be idolizing Him more than the eventual Savior and the same goes to faithful teachers today.
There is no doubt that Moses and godly men are important, but they are merely servants within God’s house, stones laid unto the foundation of Christ. In light of “considering Christ”, I need to be more conscious of my tendency to be in awe of preaching style and message delivery and more focused on the Son who reigns over the house the preachers I hear seek to build. I often remind myself when leading worship, “I am a sinful man leading sinful men to a perfect God”, yet I fail to ascribe the same mindset beyond the scope of myself. Moses was called “faithful”, but he was not perfect like Christ. Men are the materials on which God builds His abode. Man does not deserve nor should they claim credit for the growth of His people (I Corinthians 3:7).
Moses was faithful to his calling. Godly men and women around me are striving to persevere. The problem is that their faithfulness is imperfect and thus, they are reduced to servant rather than ruler, stones rather than the foundation. At the same time, we must realize that God is committed to building His house and that each stone is a product of a miraculous regeneration that can only happen through His grace and power. Each piece of the house is a daughter or son of the King that was bought by the blood of the Lamb. This clearly does not render the stone obsolete, but rather calls His children to look to the builder, to the one who uses these stones to fulfill His purpose. This builder is God and Christ is God (Hebrews 3:4, 1:3). I must learn how to behold the builder. I must consider Christ.