Greater 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” (Heb. 3:3).

- Hebrews 3:3–4

The author of Hebrews writes his letter so that His audience will not return to the old covenant. In order to persuade his audience to stay faithful to Christ, the author demonstrates the superiority of the new covenant to the old one in a variety of ways. One way he does this is by demonstrating that Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant, is superior to Moses, the mediator of the old one.

Hebrews 3:3–4 tells us explicitly that Christ is greater than Moses. In 3:1, we are told to “consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.” Verse 3 tells us that we must consider Jesus because He has been “counted worthy of more glory than Moses.”

Why has Jesus been given more glory than Moses? One answer lies in His greater role. Jesus has more glory because “the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself ”(v. 3). Jesus is the builder of the house, Moses is the house itself.

In Scripture, the house is a metaphor for God’s people, the church (1 Tim. 3:15). The church includes both old covenant and new covenant believers. As mediator of the old covenant, Moses represents the house itself. He, because of his solidarity with Israel, is the house. He has great honor as God’s faithful servant in the house. But in the end, he is only a servant; he is only the house. Jesus, however, is the builder of the house. As such, He deserves greater honor.

There are two reasons why Jesus can be called the builder of the house. The first of these is that the Messiah builds God’s house (Zech. 6:12), and Jesus is that Messiah. Second, Jesus is called the builder of the house because He is God Himself. Hebrews 3:4 makes this clear. At first it seems to suggest that Jesus is not really God because the text seems to distinguish between the builder of a house and the builder of all things. This interpretation, however, is untenable. The verse affirms the truth that God is supreme as the Architect and Creator of all things, both in the physical world and in His new creation, the church. This fact does not deny the deity of Christ but rather strongly implies that Christ, who was designated the builder of the house in 3:3, is indeed God Himself. If God builds all things, especially the church, then the one who builds the church must also be the very Lord of the Universe.

Coram Deo

Jesus promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. The history of God’s people clearly demonstrates that God always has His Church on this earth. Ask God to help you remember that the Church will be victorious and do what you can to manifest God’s building of the Church in your community.

Passages for Further Study

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 500 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred (where applicable). If no such link exists, simply link to www.ligonier.org.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343