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Lesson 4: Jesus, Higher and Better *

Introduction: Many years ago, a couple in the church invited us over to their home. It was important, because he was the chairman of the school board where my wife was teaching. After spending an afternoon with them, I decided that I did not particularly care for the fellow because he had such a strong pride of opinion. Have you run into people like that? Superior, "know-it-alls?" The more I thought about it the more I realized that the reason this fellow rubbed me the wrong way was that he was too much like me! While Christians agree that an attitude of superiority is not good, our lesson this week impresses us again with Jesus' superiority. This time, Hebrews argues Jesus is superior to Moses. It was quite the claim for the time. Let's dive into our study and find out why the superiority of Jesus is so important!

  1. Above Moses

    1. Read Hebrews 3:1-2. As you review the life of Moses, how faithful to God would you find him?

      1. Would there be room for improvement in Moses' life? (Moses killed the Egyptian ( Exodus 2:11-12), protested God's offer to lead the people (Exodus 4:10-16), and lost his temper and disobeyed God when he hit the rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:8-12). There was room for improvement.)

      2. How do you think the Jews at the time of the book of Hebrews viewed Moses? (He would be the greatest. William Barclay's commentary on this verse in Hebrews tells us "To the Jew it would have been impossible to conceive that anyone ever stood closer to God than Moses did.")

      3. The last part of verse 2 says, "Moses was faithful in all of God's house." What do you think is meant by "God's house?" (It seems God is speaking of the House of Israel. Those who follow God. See Numbers 12:7 and context.)

    2. Read Hebrews 3:3-4. We again see a reference to "the house." How is Jesus the "builder of the house" and Moses "the house?" (Verse 4 tells us that God built everything. If Moses, as "the house" is given the credit for leading God's people on earth, the point of this text is that Jesus created the people, including Moses.)

      1. Imagine the reaction to these statements by the readers of Hebrews who did not believe in Jesus or did not know Him.

    3. Read Hebrews 3:5. How has Moses now moved to "servant of the house" status? (Moses, who wrote the first five books of the Bible, "testified to what would be said in the future." In this way he also served "the house.")

    4. Read Hebrews 3:6. Who is more important in a house: the son or the servant? (The son.)

      1. What do you see as the point of the discussion so far that Jesus is more important than Moses? Why argue that? (Again, Hebrews is hammering home the point that Jesus is God.)

      2. Now (v.6) you are called his "house." Does this change your mind about what is meant by "the house" earlier? (No. This further strengthens the argument that "the house" represents those who choose to follow God.)

  2. The Call

    1. Read Hebrews 3:7-9. So far, the verses in Hebrews 3 have been giving us the message that Jesus is superior to Moses. Now we see a reference to what the Israelites did when they were led by Moses. What did they do? (They rebelled and hardened their hearts "during the time of testing.")

    2. Read Hebrews 3:10-11. What was God's reaction to the people's rebellion against the leadership of Moses? (The people would never enter into the "rest" of God. They would not enter the promised land.)

    3. Read Hebrews 3:12. It seems the reason for arguing the superiority of Jesus over Moses has now changed somewhat. Why do you think the writer of Hebrews is now arguing the superiority of Jesus over Moses?

      1. How does the conclusion in verse 12 fit into the argument that has preceded it? (Israel's failure to enter Canaan (the promised land) the first time is one of the outstanding failures of faith in the Old Testament. The people failed to follow the leading of Moses, a person that they now considered to be a great leader. Hebrews teaches us that if it was a great failure of faith not to follow Moses, how much greater a failure is it not to follow Jesus - the Living God!)

  3. Our Part in the Call

    1. Read Hebrews 3:13. The writer of Hebrews builds this powerful theological argument for following Jesus, who is far superior to Moses. What role do we have in helping others to follow Jesus? (We are to encourage each other.)

      1. Remember that the context of the problem is rebellion and a lack of faith in God. How would you encourage others who show signs of rebellion and lack of faith?

        1. What technique would you use? What have you used?

      2. Notice that verse 13 tells us to encourage each other "daily." This could be a big pain in the neck! Why should we encourage others daily? What about the context teaches us that daily is important? (The phrase in verse 13 "as long as it is called Today" implies that there is a limited time for us to answer the call of Jesus. There is a limited time for us to make a choice. Because of this limited time opportunity, we need to be busy to help encourage others right now!)

        1. How long is the "limited time opportunity?" (It varies. If we assume, as I do, that entering the earthly promised land symbolizes entering the heavenly promised land, the people who failed to enter Canaan the first time had a specific time for decision. It was forty years before another time for decision rolled around for God's people.)

    2. Read Hebrews 3:14-16. I thought the longer we are a Christian, the better we become. What standard for holding onto our faith is stated in these verses? (It says to hold on to the confidence we had when we were first converted.)

      1. Explain the logic in this?

      2. Does the example of the Israelites leaving Egypt help us to understand this logic? (I think so. Those who decided to leave Egypt were trusting Moses (and God) to lead them to a better land. They were completely dependant. Part of our Christian "walk" is to retain that complete dependance on God. This dependence is called (v.14) "confidence." The Israelites who had confidence when they left Egypt (v.16) lost their confidence at the boarder of Canaan and rebelled - they refused to enter the promised land.)

    3. Read Hebrews 3:17-19. What was the root cause of this loss of confidence, this failure to enter the promised land? (Unbelief.)

    4. So far we have learned that Jesus is greater than any prophet, He is greater than any angel and He is greater than Moses. Is it necessary for us to believe this, have confidence in fact, in order to enter Heaven? (That seems to be precisely the point of the writer of Hebrews. He is building this argument through the first three chapters of the book.)

    5. Friend, do you believe that Jesus is fully God and fully man? Do you believe that He is greater than any prophet, angel or man (including the great Moses)? If we believe this, and hold on to this belief, God offers us the opportunity to enter into the eternal promised land - Heaven.

  4. Next week: Jesus, Our High Priest.
* Copr. 2003, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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