Hebrews 3: “Wow, What a Beautiful Builder!”

I live in an area where there are absolutely beautiful homes. Shoot, I live in an absolutely beautiful home. As you begin to drive into our area you notice that not only are the houses beautiful, but the lawns, streets, even the mail boxes are beautiful. You can say with much confidence that our area takes pride in the way things look.

I’m not saying all of this to say that this is a problem. Although they’re indications that things aren’t always as they appear, this morning I want to look  from a different perspective. When you’re looking a beautiful home you typically say, “Wow, what a beautiful home!” What you typically DON’T say is, “Wow, what a beautiful builder!” Unless you were driving around with the builder, most people don’t care or even know who built the house.

Housing Boom in Rome

Rome during the time of this writing was a place much like where I live. It wasn’t uncommon for the people of Rome to have marble imported for walls and decorations. Among marble, other building materials included stone, concrete, terra-cotta, wood, and bronze.

Great buildings were a sign of great power; while great houses were a sign of great people. As Rome’s influence began to expand, builders became very popular. Many people during this time had elaborate spaces for dining, meeting, and relaxing.

Hebrews 3:3-6 (NLT) But Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.

Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.

We may be confused when we read this passage to think that the author is belittling Moses, but that’s not what’s happening at all. In fact, the author is utilizing a writing technique common in Greco-Roman literature and Jewish writings called “synkrisis,” or comparison. The comparison the author makes between Moses and Jesus is not to disparage Moses, but rather to highlight the special status of Jesus.

The Expositor’s Bible Notes it this way:  The author steadily develops his argument that Jesus is supremely great. He is greater than the angels (1:4), the author of a great salvation (2:3), and great enough to become human to accomplish it (2:9-18). Now he turns his attention to Moses, regarded by the Jews as the greatest person of all. They could even think of him as greater than angels. Perhaps then he was superior to Jesus? The writer does nothing to belittle Moses. Nor does he criticize him. He accepts Moses’ greatness but shows that as great as he was, Jesus was greater by far.

Beautiful Builder

I love verses 5 and 6 (NLT)  Moses was certainly faithful in God’s house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.

In these two verses, the author quickly references a couple of key points:

  1. Moses was a servant in God’s house
  2. Moses’ work was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ ministry and purpose
  3. As great as Moses is, Jesus is greater and in charge of everything
  4. We are God’s house… IF we keep courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ!

We are God’s house! Meaning, God created us, he is our builder! God, through Jesus in habits his house, like Moses inhabited the Temple in the wilderness. When people look at you, regardless of what the outside of your “house” looks like, they shouldn’t say to themselves, “Wow, what a beautiful “house!” They should say instead, “Wow, what a beautiful builder!”