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Sabbath School Lessons on Hebrews
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 39 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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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!
- Above Moses
- Read Hebrews 3:1-2. As you review the life of Moses, how
faithful to God would you find him?
- 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.)
- 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
- 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
- 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.)
- Imagine the reaction to these statements by the
readers of Hebrews who did not believe in Jesus or
did not know Him.
- 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.")
- Read Hebrews 3:6. Who is more important in a house: the
son or the servant? (The son.)
- 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.)
- 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
- The Call
- 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
- 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.)
- 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?
- 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
- Our Part in the Call
- 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.)
- 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?
- What technique would you use? What have you
- 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!)
- 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
- 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.)
- Explain the logic in this?
- 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.)
- Read Hebrews 3:17-19. What was the root cause of this loss
of confidence, this failure to enter the promised land?
- 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
- 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 -
- 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.