Faithful Like Moses
From Gospel Translations
“Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.” (Heb. 3:1-2).
- Hebrews 3:1–2
We have read that Christ is far superior to the angels because He is God Himself. We have also seen how the Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ in order to become our High Priest. Having laid this foundation, the author of Hebrews now compares Christ to Moses.
At first it seems abrupt when the author of Hebrews jumps to a comparison of Christ with Moses. But when we remember that the audience of this epistle is thinking of returning to the old covenant, this comparison becomes entirely understandable. After all, the primary mediator of the old covenant was Moses, and an epistle comparing the new covenant to the old one will necessarily also compare the mediator of the new covenant to the mediator of the old one.
Before comparing Christ to Moses explicitly, the author makes an implicit comparison between the two. In 3:1, Jesus is called the “apostle and high priest of our confession.” This is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus is called “the apostle.” The reference is appropriate when we consider that the word apostle means “one who is sent.” In the gospels, Jesus sees Himself as being sent by the Father to His people (Matt. 10:40; John 10:35–36). Likewise, Moses was also sent by God to His people. The name “high priest” may also be a subtle reference to Moses. Moses did perform some priestly work. For example, he interceded so that God would not destroy the Israelites for worshiping the golden calf (Ex. 32:7–14). More likely, however, is Calvin’s opinion that the author is making reference to Aaron when he uses the name “high priest.” This interpretation fits well with the author’s later description of Christ’s priestly work and its relation to Aaron’s (Heb. 7:11–28). If the reference is to Aaron, then Hebrews is already teaching the superiority of Christ to Moses. Moses was God’s apostle primarily, and, if he was also a priest, he was only one in a limited sense. Christ, however, holds both offices in all their fullness.
Explicitly, we are told here that Christ was faithful to God just like Moses was faithful in all God’s house (3:2). Jesus was as faithful to God as Moses, one of the greatest prophets of the old covenant. The implication of this verse and the previous teachings is clear. If Moses was to be followed because of his faithfulness, the faithful incarnate Son of God must be followed all the more.
The New Testament teaches that Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King. Jesus speaks God’s Word to us, intercedes for us, and leads us where we should go. As you seek to live your life coram deo, confess your need for Christ to hold these offices on your behalf and remember that He will always speak to you, intercede for you, and lead you.
Passages for Further Study