Hebrews 3 — Jesus Greater Than Moses, Warning Against Unbelief
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Two related sections are found in Hebrews 3: “Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses” (Hebrews 3:3) and a warning, “See to it brothers and sisters, that non of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (3:12). The latter is a mini-sermon based on Psalm 95, so it’s a good idea to take a diversion and read Psalm 95 (it’s short!).
The writer uses the metaphor of a house and builder of the house to show that Jesus is greater than Moses without suggesting Moses was bad, “just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself (3:3b). Moses did his part as a faithful servant in God’s house, “bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future” (3:5). Here we are told to look at Moses as a foundational servant pointing to some future state when Jesus arrives. This anticipation is key and drives the entire Jewish nation through the rest of the Old Testament following Moses. “And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory” (3:6). Focus on the word “hope” in this verse. Hope is that driving force that keeps us going steady when all around us fall. Hope keeps us focused. As long as we have hope, we have a chance and will continue grinding out day after day.
“So,” the writer continues…having established that Jesus is greater than Moses, that we are God’s house (not some physical building or tabernacle), “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion'” (3:7-8 and 3:15). Twice we are given reference to Psalm 95 where the writer explains that “he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice…” (Psalm 95:7). The wording is slightly different, but the call is the same: Listen to God’s voice! Don’t keep sinning. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). This is what “church” is all about, a place where we gather to build each other up. We can’t do this if we’re struggling with sin in our lives. At the same time, we’re not to judge one another, rather we are to build up each other. “We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end” (3:14). This gives us hope. This is the hope I long to find in a church and what I strive to bring to a church–we are church:
“Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care” (Psalm 95:6-7a)
Lord, help us to do church together, on the same page, with the hope of Christ in our hearts and great love for each other!