Unit: Hebrews (Part 1)
Lesson Text: Hebrews 3:1-6
Supplemental Text: Matthew 17:1-8; John 5:41-47; Deuteronomy 5:1-22; 18:15-18
Aim: Hold firmly to your confidence and hope in Jesus.
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By Mark Scott
Bible scholars are united in the Bible’s use of typology, but they are divided as to what extent the Bible uses typology. Typology is a person, thing, or event that prophetically prefigures some later fulfillment in the Bible. The fulfillment is called the antitype. Some Bible scholars demand that later revelation must “name it and claim it” for it to be a true type. Other Bible scholars are broader in their embrace of intentions and fulfillments. Comfort levels differ. If the Bible does not connect the fulfillment dots, we certainly must be careful about declaring a typological connection.
Our text probably shows signs of typology. The writer of Hebrews makes the case that Jesus was superior to everything and everyone, including the ginormous person of Moses (though Louie Giglio calls Moses “The Little Leader”). Was Moses in fact a “type” of Christ (Deuteronomy 18:15-18)?
The three most significant characters in the Old Testament were Abraham, Moses, and David (though Job, Noah, and Daniel also are commended highly—Ezekiel 14:14, 20). Abraham was the father of Israel, David was the singer of Israel, but Moses was the redeemer and lawgiver of Israel. Moses wrote more than any of the others combined. For a man who had platform paralysis (Exodus 4:10), Moses used many words.
The text said Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Even though Moses questioned his calling, doubted whether God’s people would receive his message, failed to honor God before the people (on one occasion), and fearfully fled into the wilderness when his murder of an Egyptian was exposed (Exodus 3:11; 4:1; Deuteronomy 3:26-28; Acts 7:29), he still made faithful choices and endured “disgrace for the sake of Christ” (Hebrews 11:24-28).
Moses was willing to be a servant. The word for servant used here is not the one typically used; rather, it is the Greek word therapon that means “minister” or “attendant” or “one who is faithful to a superior.” As God’s servant, Moses was bearing witness to what God would yet do in the future (John 5:46). Moses bore up under incredible pressure as he led God’s people (Acts 7:35-41). He was not unlike someone else who would be rejected by his own people as well (John 1:11).
Jesus was called an apostle (one sent from God) and high priest (a concept that will be developed thoroughly in Hebrews). He too was faithful to the one who appointed him. Jesus was consumed with doing the Father’s will (John 5:19). This may be why Jesus was called faithful and true (Revelation 19:11). Jesus was found worthy—even more so than Moses. Jesus was worshipped as such in Revelation 5:9-14.
While Moses and Jesus are similar, there is one huge difference. Jesus was a Son, while Moses was a servant. That is no small thing. Jesus’ identity is what makes him superior to Moses. Moses was called by God, but Jesus was sent by God. Moses descended from the priestly family, but Jesus was the high priest. Moses was faithful to God, but Jesus was in total solidarity with God (John 8:58). Moses compromised his leadership in the wilderness, but Jesus succeeded in his leadership in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). When Moses “is read,” a veil covers the face of the reader, but Jesus enables believers with unveiled faces to behold the glory of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:15-18).
In the Bible, the word house can mean many things. Sometimes it simply means a physical house. Paul told the Corinthians they had “houses” in which to eat (1 Corinthians 11:34). The word often means “household.” This would be a synonym to “family.” For instance, Noah built an ark to save his family (Hebrews 11:7). The word sometimes means “tabernacle.” David was frustrated that the ark of the covenant was in a tent and voiced his frustration to Nathan. But God told Nathan he had not dwelt in a “house” since the exodus (2 Samuel 7:1-7). Finally, the word house can mean “temple.” Jesus said the Jewish “house” (temple) would be left desolate (Matthew 23:38).
In this passage “house” is both a metaphor for God’s people in general and the church in particular. Brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling is church language. The writer even says, “We are his house.” It could not be clearer. But the key to remaining Jesus’ house is to hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
Dr. Mark Scott serves as minister with Park Plaza Christian Church in Joplin, Mo. He retired in May after more than 30 years as professor of New Testament with Ozark Christian College in Joplin.