The Greater New Covenant Mediator
“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” (v. 3).- Hebrews 3:1–6
No figure in Judaism is more revered than Moses, the mediator of the old covenant. So associated with the old covenant and the old covenant law is Moses that his name can stand in for the old covenant legal code and system. The Apostle Paul, who was from a Jewish background himself, uses Moses’ name to refer to the Mosaic law in 2 Corinthians 3:15.
Given the place of Moses in the old covenant, one sure way to convince people that Jesus is better than the old covenant and better than Judaism is to prove that Jesus is greater than Moses. That is just what the author of Hebrews does in today’s passage. Both Moses and Jesus, we read in Hebrews 3:1–6, were faithful in God’s house, but Jesus is greater than Moses because the faithfulness He rendered was that of a son and builder while Moses’ faithfulness was as a servant.
The argument in verses 1–6 is easy to follow. It is necessary and vital for the servants of a household to be faithful to their masters. Their unfaithfulness can lead to all manner of problems. Nevertheless, no matter how faithful a servant might be, he does not own the house. He is not the final authority in the home. Moses was like an excellent servant, keeping the house of God—the people of God—in good order. However, Christ, a member of the same household, is far better. He is worthy of more glory and honor than Moses because He is the owner and builder of the house. Yes, Jesus comes as a servant, but He is no mere servant. He is actually God, for the Son builds the house just as God is the builder of all things (see v. 4).
So, the question is this: Is it better to follow the servant in a house or to follow the builder and owner of a house? The answer is obvious. If one wants to escape trouble and prosper in a household, one must follow the house’s builder and owner. John Calvin comments, “To Moses was committed a doctrine to which he, in common with others, was to submit; but Christ, though he put on the form of a servant, is yet Master and Lord, to whom all ought to be subject.” To set Jesus aside in favor of the old covenant mediator Moses would be foolish indeed. (And this does not even get into the fact that one cannot truly follow Moses anyway unless one also follows Christ; see John 5:46.)
In following Christ, we actually become God’s house (Heb. 3:6). To leave Jesus would be to become a structure destined only for demolition (Matt. 7:24–27).
Today’s passage concludes by saying that we are God’s house if we hold fast our confidence (Heb. 3:6). How do we know that we are part of the house that God is building and in which He dwells? By persevering in faith. Who will persevere in faith? Those who are a part of God’s house. Let us hold fast to our confession of faith, knowing that Jesus will enable us to do so as we continue trusting in Him.
Passages for Further Study
1 Chronicles 17:1–5
1 Timothy 3:15
1 Peter 2:4–8