The preacher of the book of Hebrews is writing to encourage the Christians to not give up or lose their faith during the difficulties they are facing for serving the Lord. In chapter 2 we noticed that the author is giving hope by showing how Jesus is the help that they need. But in chapters 3-4 the author is going to describe the rest that is available to them so that they will be encouraged in their faith. The word “rest” is found 12 times in chapters 3-4. So our series is called, “The Rest We Need.” But to understand the rest we need, the preacher must help us further understand our position with Jesus.
Consider Jesus (3:1)
You will notice that he begins by reminding them of who they are based on the points made in chapter 2. You are holy brothers and sisters. Remember that Jesus makes us holy and that is why he is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters (2:11). You share in a heavenly calling. Jesus has made you holy and is bringing you to glory, partaking in the heavenly calling. This is your destiny.
But now the preacher wants our attention drawn to considering Jesus. Consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. On the surface this appears to be an unusual designation for Jesus. How is Jesus the apostle? An apostle is one sent by God with authority to speak for God and represent God to humans. An apostle is the supreme agent of God’s revelation carrying God’s full authority on his behalf. With this in mind, this designation for Jesus makes sense because this was the point made in chapter 1. In the past God spoke in many ways and at many times through the prophets. But in these last days God has spoken to us by a Son. So we are to consider the importance of Jesus as our high priest and apostle.
Jesus and Moses (3:2-4)
Jesus was faithful to the one who appointed him (the Father) just as Moses was also faithful in all God’s house. Now this is a very big statement regarding Moses. This statement about Moses is actually a quotation from scripture. In Numbers 12 you might recall that Aaron and Miriam challenge the authority of Moses. They spoke against Moses because Moses married a Cushite woman. So they proclaim their own importance that the Lord had spoken through them too. So the Lord calls them out and listen to what God says about Moses to Aaron and Miriam.
And the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:5–8 ESV)
Notice that the quotation the author of Hebrews uses is a statement of glory and elevation. Moses should not be spoken against because he is faithful in all of God’s house. God spoke to him plainly and he was able to see the form of the Lord. Moses is absolutely glorious. Moses was the premiere agent of God’s revelation, the mediator of the covenant, and the leader of God’s people.
But listen to verses 3-4. Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses. Why would Jesus have more glory than Moses? Moses is quite glorious. The words the Lord spoke about Moses he did not say about anyone else. So how can Jesus have more glory? The answer is simple according to the preacher. The builder of the house has more honor than the house itself. As glorious as a house is, the one who builds the house receives greater glory. We do that all the time. We glory in something amazing and then we ask, “Who made that?” We do that because the builder and the designer is greater than the object itself.
Now there is a very important logical argument that the writer presents here that we are to consider. Jesus is the builder of the house (3:3). The builder of all things is God (3:4). Therefore, what is the conclusion? Jesus is God. Jesus is the divine Son because he is the builder of the house and God builds all things. Jesus is worthy of greater honor because he is the builder. Moses was great and was faithful as a servant in all God’s house (3:5). But Moses was simply a picture of truths to be revealed later in Jesus. Moses was a servant and he is great and glorious. But Jesus is faithful over as a Son over God’s house.
We Are His House (3:6)
But we cannot stop reading here because this is not the point. Too often the point is simply made that Jesus is greater than Moses, as if that was ever in question. That is not the point nor is that the solving of the issue at hand. Saying that Jesus is greater than Moses does not give us any greater confidence for help and endurance. We have to keep reading and let what the writer of Hebrews says blow you off your feet. Look at verse 6 carefully.
“And we are his house.” Moses was a faithful servant in the house. Moses was glorious because he was faithful as a servant in the house. Jesus is the builder of the house and is over the house as the Son. Now listen to it. Verse 6 does not say that Moses is a servant in the house and so we are also a servant in the house. That would be quite glorious if that was what the text said. But it says so much more. God does not say that you are a servant in the house. God says you are his house. The author is not merely magnifying Moses to glorify Christ. The author is magnifying Moses to magnify our position. We are the house. We are not servants in the house. We are the house. Everything God was doing through Moses was pointing to this time when Jesus would build the house. You see, we are not servants in the house. We are children in the house. We are brothers with Christ, as 2:11 proclaimed. You are the household of faith. You are the house of the Lord. You are heirs of the promise. You are children who do not serve in God’s house but belong to God’s house. That is what Jesus built. That is what Jesus gave you.
If We Hold Fast (3:6)
You see that the preacher gives us a reason to endure the difficulties that come from being a follower of Jesus. You have a reason to remain faithful. You have a reason to press on and not give up. The reason is that you are not a servant like Moses, who was so amazing and so glorious. You are a child of the Father, a brother of Jesus, and belong as a rightful heir in God’s house. What Jesus has done changes everything about our relationship. You see that what has happened is not that we have been transferred from being slaves to sin to being slaves to God. Paul initially says this in Romans 6:22, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God.” But we cannot stop there because that is not the final picture. We have been adopted as his children. Listen to what Paul said to the Romans just a little later:
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:15–17 ESV)
We are children in the house if we hold firmly to our confidence. Think about what the writer of Hebrews says because it can be a little confusing. “We are that house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” Hold fast to our confidence and hold fast to the boasting of our hope. Hold on to the hope in which you are glorying in and rejoicing in. How do you boast in the right way? Boasting in our hope and confidence is not by saying, “Look at me.” Rather, it is by saying, “Look at what God has given me!” “Look at what God has done for me!” We hold on to that! This is our hope and our endurance that we hold on to. Look at what God has done. He has taken me and he is not ashamed of me but adopted me into his house and gives me even greater glory and privilege than Moses. That is what God has done for me.
That is our glory and that is our hope. I want to end the lesson by us just quietly considering in our hearts what we glory and boast in. What do we put our hope in? Do we put our hope in money, wealth, power, glory, job, family, spouse, comfort, or something else? Where does your life joy and satisfaction come from? I hope that we will see if that we put our hope and joy in anything else but Jesus, then we will be disillusioned, demoralized, and depressed because all of these things are empty and let us down. But if our joy is in the knowledge that God has elevated us from slaves to sin to children in the house of God, then I can overcome any difficulty. Make it hard on me, Satan, for I am a child of God and it does not matter what you do to me because you cannot take that away from me! Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ! You can take everything in my life away but you cannot take away that hope and that is what we will glory in. Endurance comes when we make Jesus our everything. If Jesus is not our everything, then we will not hold fast the confidence God has given to us.