Jesus is better. This is the theme of the letter to the Hebrews. The Greek word for “better” and the Greek word for “superior” are found 15 times in the letter. And the theme is throughout. For instance…
- Jesus is better than the angels. They are only ministering spirits. He is the Son.
- Jesus is better than any High priest. They have to offer sacrifice for their own sin. Jesus has no such need.
And here in chapter 3, Jesus is better than Moses…
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. Hebrews 3:3 (ESV)
Powerful thought, no? Moses is the created one (the house). But Jesus is the Creator (The House Builder). And understanding Jesus to be better than Moses was especially important for the original readers of this letter – many scholars believe they were being tempted to go back into Judaism.
Why does this matter to us?
While Christians today would never be tempted to actually say that Moses is better than Jesus, they are often tempted to think that the law (what Moses represented) is better than Jesus’ way of grace.
How so? Well, no, I’m not talking about the Old Testament Law. I’m talking about new “laws”. Consider the excitement believers give to gathering “principles of living”? When a new teacher (often a truly Christian pastor) comes up with a new and creative way to help us manage our time or money or marriages, we make quite a kerfuffle. These ideas and principles are not themselves bad, but they are basically new “laws”, and while we get excited about new ways to “manage our one and only life”, these ideas often do not lead us to any lasting change. It’s all good advice, often presented in a very entertaining manner, but it has no power.
As Michael Horton writes…
On its own, more advice (law, commands, exhortations) will only lead us to either self-righteousness or despair. Yet the more Christ is held up before us as sufficient for our justification and sanctification, the more we begin to die to ourselves and live to God…So there are really only two religions in the world: a religion of human striving to ascend to God through pious works, feelings, attitudes, and experiences and the Good News of God’s merciful descent to us in his Son. The religions, philosophies, ideologies, and spiritualities of the world only differ on the details. Whether we are talking about the Dalai Lama or Dr. Phil, Islam or Oprah, liberals or conservatives, the most intuitive conviction is that we are good people who need good advice, not helpless sinners who need the Good News.Michael Horton. Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (p. 128). Kindle Edition.