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  • Writer's pictureWayne Shelton

The Book of Hebrews - Christ Our Apostle

Hebrews 3:1-6

In our study of the Book of Hebrews we have learned that Jesus is better than angels and this week we will hear that Jesus is greater than Moses. This is significant because to the first readers of this book Moses was significant and because of persecution some were tempted to go back to the old covenant. Thus, it was critical for the writer to make his case that Jesus is superior to Moses without depreciating the ministry of Moses.

In our adult Sunday School class Chad is working through an overview of the Old Testament books. He has been explaining how the Bible was written as a covenant for God’s people. Thus, there is a covenantal structure to the ordering of the books of the Bible.

Perhaps one of the best cases for the superiority of Jesus to Moses without diminishing the ministry of Moses was presented by Chad in our SS class. Chad adapted the following summary material Comparing Moses and Jesus by Miles Van Pelt, a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary:   

“There are four covenant books in the Old Testament (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) and four covenant books in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). In each Testament, the covenant books are framed by the birth and the death of the covenant mediator and contain the accounts of their lives and teachings in the context of covenant administration. In the Old Testament, the framing is comprehensive, beginning with the birth of Moses in Exodus 2 and concluding with his death in Deuteronomy 34. In the New Testament, the framing appears within each individual book (distributive). For example, in Matthew the birth of Jesus is recorded in chapter 1 and his death in chapter 27. This pattern is variously repeated in the other Gospels.

“In addition to the larger, structural relationships that exist between the covenant books of the Old and New Testaments, numerous internal elements also connect these books. For example, both Moses and Jesus share a birth narrative where they are born under the threat of death by a foreign ruler and must flee into Egypt to escape (cf. Exodus 1; Matthew 2). Additionally, both men deliver the law from a mountain, experience transfigurations, perform miracles, and suffer under the constant rebellion of their people as covenant mediators. In many ways, the gospel narratives of the New Testament work to portray Jesus as a second Moses figure.

“In addition to these major features of correspondence, there are also important aspects of discontinuity. For example, in Exodus 32:30–34, Moses offers up to the Lord his life on behalf of the people of Israel because their sin had provoked the threat of death. However, this act of substitution is denied to Moses. But when it comes to Jesus under the new covenant, his request to circumvent this path to salvation is denied (cf. Matt. 26:39), and he becomes the ultimate substitute for the people of God, bearing the curse of their sin by his own death. Another example includes the way in which these covenant narratives end. In the old covenant, the narrative ends with the death of the covenant mediator, Moses. With Jesus in the new covenant, however, the death of the covenant mediator is not the final word. Each of the new covenant narratives climaxes in Jesus’s victory over death by way of resurrection. It is important to understand that these instances of discontinuity do not sever the relationship between the covenant books in the Old and New Testaments. Rather, they were designed to highlight the person and work of Jesus by way of contrast as the Mediator of a better covenant (cf. Heb. 3:3; 7:22).” (“Introduction,” in A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament: The Gospel Promised, ed. Miles V. Van Pelt (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 35.)

As a result, the writer of Hebrews calls us to ‘Fix our eyes on Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.’ Join us Sunday as we are challenged to focus our mind, fix our gaze, give attention to, Jesus Christ. What does this mean and how do we do it? Let’s talk about it.

Again, this week, we want to offer a book that will help you learn to fix your gaze upon Jesus. Kris Lundgaard’s The Devoted Mind: Seeking God’s Face in a World of Distraction will help you learn how to consider Jesus. The book is described in this manner:

“Do you feel overwhelmed? Discontented? Weary? These are symptoms of a distracted mind – a mind fixed on passing earthly things.

“Guided by the rich wisdom of Puritan theologian John Owen, Kris Lundgaard presents a countermeasure to our distractions: the devoted mind. By seeking those things above, where Christ is, we can have hope in all circumstances, know contentment in any situation, and enjoy deep communion with God that makes life worth living.

“Deep, meditative, and compelling, The Devoted Mind invites us to draw nearer to Christ as he draws nearer to us. Its eleven brief but profound chapters each conclude with exercises to guide the mind-work and heart-work you need to grow. Let us devote our minds to contemplating God and find our worship renewed.”

The first person who texts/calls me after reading this email will receive a copy of Kris Lundgaard’s The Devoted Mind: Seeking God’s Face in a World of Distraction.

In Christ,

Pastor Wayne



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