Hebrews 3:1-6 tells us that Jesus is greater than Moses. Why does that matter? It matters because the writer of Hebrews did not want Jewish believers to abandon Jesus for Moses. Because he did not want them to abandon Jesus, he tells them to consider Jesus compared to Moses.
Now, Moses and Jesus were similar in many ways. Moses was the apostle of redemption in the Old Testament. "Apostle" means one who is sent. God sent him to Israel. Moses lived in Midian, but God appeared in a burning bush (Exodus 3) and sent him to Israel to tell of God's coming redemption and to lead them into it.
He was also the mediator between God and man when God established the Old Covenant with Israel. The Israelites were afraid to be in the presence of God at Sinai. They asked Moses to go for them. God allowed this to be so. Moses receieved the law of the covenant and taught it to the people. He mediated between Israel and God.
He is great in the religion of Israel. In New Testament times, he was greatly revered by the Jews. The Pharisees told Jesus, in John 9:28, that they were disciples of Moses. The Jews to whom this book was written were thinking about returning to Moses. That is, they were thinking about returning to Judaism. So the writer of Hebrews wanted to show that, as great as Moses was, Jesus is greater. And because that is so, the New Covenant he brings is superior to the Old Covenant Moses brought.
Hebrews 3:1 says Jesus is the apostle and the high priest of our confession. "Our confession" means our faith. It means our belief that Jesus is the Son of God who is the only way to salvation. This verse is the only time the New Testament calls Jesus an apostle. He is the apostle because God the father sent Jesus the son to mediate the New Covenant between God and his people.
This verse also says Jesus is the high priest of that covenant, having offered the sacrifice that made it possible. This theme will be developed in great detail later in the book.
Not only was Jesus the apostle and the high priest, he was faithful. Verse 2 says he was faithful to him who appointed him. By this he means God the father appointed Jesus the son to take on human flesh and die for us. Jesus repeatedly said the Father sent him (apostle), gave him work to do (appointed him) and that he did all the Father said to do. In John 17:4, Jesus told the Father he accomplished all the work the Father gave him to do.
Just as the writer did not denigrate (put down) the angels, he does not denigrate Moses. He says Moses was faithful in all God's house. (2) He was more faithful than anyone. This is a reference to Numbers 12:7, where God chastised Aaron and Miriam for opposing Moses. They did not like being subordinate to Moses.
God reminded them that God did not speak to Moses in dreams and visions, but mouth to mouth. He also let Moses observe his form. These show us the special relationship God had with Moses. As far as we know, no one else on the face of the earth had this close relationship with God.
We also know that Moses did great work. The book of Exodus tells us Moses left his job as a shepherd, marched into the presence of the most powerful man on earth, and told him to release the Hebrews. He led them out of Egypt. He led them through the wilderness. He taught God's law and covenant to them. He worked miracles.
So, Moses was a great man. But, even so, Jesus is worthy of more glory even than Moses according to verse 3. The writer used an example of house building to explain this. The builder of the house gets more glory than the house itself. In our time, for example, Falling Water is a famous house in Pennsylvania U.S.A. But Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed and built it, gets more glory than the house does.
Although Moses was a great leader, he was still a member of and a servant to God's household (or house). The house is God's family, the people of God. In the Old Testament it is the group of believing Jews in ethnic Israel. But God built the house. The Father and the Son were both involved to build this house. They created believing Israel. Isaiah 43:7 says "But now thus says The Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel".
Under the new covenant, God expanded his house to include both Jews and Gentiles, anyone who believes in Jesus from any nation or race. Those who believe in Jesus are his house. We call those people the church. Jesus said "I will build my church". 1 Peter 2:5 says "you (believers) like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house...".
Jesus is faithful over this house. But he is not just a faithful servant.He is a faithful son. Son is a higher position than servant. Moses was a servant. Angels are servants. Jesus, however, is the son. He has an exalted position and an exalted title. He has more glory than Moses because of this.
Now look back to verse 5, where it says Moses was faithful in God's house. It goes on to tell us how he was faithful. He was faithful to "testify to the things that were to be spoken of later". What things did he testify to? He testified to the coming of Jesus as savior.
For example, In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses said "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers - it is to him you shall listen..." Then in verse 18, Moses recounts what God said to him. He said 'I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth and he shall speak to them of all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require of him."
The Jews understood this prophet was special and looked for him. For example, when John the Baptist arrived on the scene and preached the coming of the kingdom, people asked him "are you the prophet?" John, of course, said no, because Jesus is this prophet and fulfilled this scripture.
Moses also taught the Jews about the Passover lamb which was a type, for a picture, of Jesus coming and dying a sacrificial death.
Not only did the writer of Hebrews teach this about Moses, Jesus did. In John 5:46, Jesus said "For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" When the resurrected Jesus taught the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Luke 24:27 says "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself".
Moses taught the Israelites to look forward to the coming of Christ. You might note that verse 6 is the first time in the book the writer uses the term "Christ". This is his subtle way of reminding his Jewish audience that Jesus is the Messiah, the annointed one, promised by the prophets of the Old Testament, including Moses.
Now, the herald is inferior to the king he heralds. The announcer is inferior to the speaker or performer he announces. Moses, as great as he was, is inferior to the Christ about whom he talked. John the Baptist, another prophet, understood this. When his followers told him that some were leaving to follow Jesus, John said Jesus must increase and John must decrease. (John 3:30)
Verse 6 says we are God's house. The "we" means those who believe in and follow Christ. Ephesians 2:19-22 teaches this truth also. It says "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prohets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together..."
This house is special. The phrase "God's house" was used by Old Testament Jews to refer to the Temple. God's presence dwelt there. However, the New Testament tells us there is no longer a temple that is a building built by human hands. Instead it is the body, the congregation, of all believers. Jesus dwells in his believers. Ephesians 2:21-22 goes on to say "...in him the whole building is joined together and rises to becme a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." The presence of God between the cherabim in the holiest place in the Old Testament temple was a picture of this.
But the last sentence of Hebrews 3:6 is a qualification. It is also a transition to the second warning of the book. It says we are his house if we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. The proof that one is saved is that he or she holds fast to the faith. God preserves those who believe forever. They are never lost to him.
Baptists call this "once saved always saved". Traditionally, this doctrine is known as the preserverence of the saints. They preservere in the faith to the end. But it might be more accurate to speak of the preservation of the saints, as God preserves those who truly believe. This does not mean you will never have doubts, but you will not abandon the faith if you truly believe.
Section V of the Baptist Faith and Message says:
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Chapter 17 of the Westminister Confession says:
They, whom God has accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
John observed that some had left the church and said "They went ourt from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out that it might become plain that they all are not of us. Some may claim to be believers, but are not. Jesus said "not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)
The writer of Hebews does not want these Jews to go back to Judaism. He did not want believers to fall into sin. He did not want others to show they were not true believers by abandoning the faith for the law. He did not want those who heard the gospel and understood it to be true, even if they had not committed themselves to Christ, to walk away and be damned. So, he exorted them to focus on Christ and believe.
He was doing what Jude did at the end of his letter. He wanted to "save others by snatching them out of the fire".
I urge the same to you today. Even if you have doubts, even if you have problems, do not abandon Christ. Rather, cling to him even more tightly.
And if you have never really believed in him and committed yourself to him, do so today.