Greater Than Moses?

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Fifth in a series on Israel and what we learned from the Jewish people.

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. — Hebrews 3:3-6

Have you ever been to a Bar Mitzvah? When we visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, also known as the Wailing Wall or Kotel, we were entertained by several young Jewish boys and their families who were there celebrating the boys “coming of age.” That is, becoming a man in the Jewish culture. A Bar Mitzvah is more than just a birthday party—it is a joyous but serious event in a young boy’s life. It signifies that at age thirteen he had achieved a level of spiritual maturity and it is based on the Talmud (the collection of ancient Rabbinic writings) which says, “At five years old a child is ready to study the Bible; at ten, the Oral Law; and at thirteen, the Commandments (mitzvot), all 613 of them. The candidate is also required to chant a section of the current week’s Torah (the Law) portion, followed by an assigned reading from one of the books of the Prophets. We watched that day as one of the boys opened the compartment of the Torah scroll and began to read.

Women and men are separated by a partition at the Western Wall, although it is not so high that the ladies and girls can’t stand on a chair and observe the festivities—and join in with 84869133the singing, shouting and hand clapping. We saw one father with his son sitting proudly on his shoulders as the other men danced around them. What a happy occasion!

Moses is considered by every religious Jew to be the greatest of all of their prophets and because the Law was given to him by God on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 20-31), his name is synonymous with the Torah. Moses was one of the greatest leaders in Jewish history but little did these observant Jews know, that when Jesus Christ the Messiah came, Moses was no longer the greatest—by far.

We reflected with admiration that day as we watched the display of deep reverence the Jews had for God’s Word. They put many Christians to shame in the way they exalt the Old Testament Scriptures. I believe we would profit greatly if we had that same esteem for the Word of God given to us in both Testaments.

In the middle of the first century, Hebrew Christians were in trouble. Not only were they being persecuted by their Jewish brothers, but the Roman authorities had them in their sights as well. They were scattered all over Asia Minor and Europe due to the events before and after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. From the book of Hebrews we see that many were second guessing their conversions and were beginning to waver in their faith. Some had already drifted away. The author of Hebrews, in an attempt to bring them back, reminded them that although Moses was great, there was one who was greater—Jesus Christ.

Jesus told his followers, “No servant is greater than his master,” (John 15:20). Moses was a servant of God’s house and a faithful one but Jesus was “in charge of God’s entire house.” He is the master builder and we are his house if, “we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.”

After that day at the Western Wall and watching the excited young boys and their families, our thoughts were drawn back to the beginning of our trip at the El Al Airlines terminal in Chicago. While waiting for our plane’s scheduled departure, we met a very nice Jewish lady named Judy who was also on her way to the Holy Land. She was was going to Jerusalem to visit her daughter who was married to the pastor of a Messianic Jewish church there and a convert to Christianity. Surprised by that, we asked her what prevented her from becoming a Christian like her daughter?

She said, “If I become a believer, I’ll have to give up my Moses.”

“But Judy,” we replied, “What if one greater than Moses has come?”

She thought about that question for awhile and then said, “I guess that is the only difference between us isn’t it? I’m still waiting for my Messiah, and you Christians believe he has come.”

“That’s right, Judy. We believe the Messiah has come—and we believe he is your Messiah, as well.”

She was silent. But before we boarded our flight that day, we prayed together with Judy that someday soon her wait would be over. Now wouldn’t Jerusalem be a great place for that to happen? Someday we’ll know!

Maranatha! 

scan0002To help us walk closer with God and to know Him better.

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