Differences that Matter

It is a common, modern mistake to make the assumption that all religions are essentially the same. But one is foolish to call a set of things the same that clearly contain a dramatic and significant set of differences. And one clear difference between biblical Christianity and all other world religions is the understanding that the Bible has of the identity of Jesus. Every world religion out there assumes that Jesus is one among many religious leaders. Perhaps, they will suggest, Jesus is a prophet like Moses or another religious leader.

But the Bible is utterly clear that Christians cannot see Jesus as the same as other religious leaders.

Hebrews 3:3-6 – 3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

Look at the illustration used by the author of the letter to the Hebrews. He compares Jesus to Moses. And in that comparison, he shows that there is a significant, qualitative difference between the two. Jesus is worthy of an entirely greater and different glory than is Moses. The difference is similar to the difference in glory owed to the builder of a house and the house itself.

Tie that illustration to the world, and you see a significant difference. Moses, like a house, is worthy of honor. Moses is a solid example of the craft of the builder, demonstrating the builder’s wisdom and skill. And If Jesus is on the same level as Moses, a man and not God himself, then Jesus would be like a house too. Perhaps he could be argued to be a better house, but still another house.

But what do we see the book of Hebrews tell us? Jesus is greater than Moses in the same way that the builder of a house is greater than the house itself. Jesus is not an expression of the craftsmanship of the Lord. Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus is the builder, not the house.

If I were illustrating differently, I might take a painting as an example. In a painting, we do not marvel at the canvas and the paints. We marvel at the finished work of art as a demonstration of the skill of the artist. But no person would ever suggest that the blue paint in a portrait is anything like the same as the artist who made the painting. They are significantly different, even if one is used by the other to express the skill of the artist. Even the finished painting is not in itself anything like the artist who produced it. That painting is merely an expression of the talent of the artist.

If Moses is to Jesus as a house is to the builder, then Moses is a tool in the hand of God while Jesus is God himself. And if that is understood, no thoughtful person can suggest that Christianity is the same as other world religions. The Bible claims that Jesus is unlike Moses and thus unlike all other prophets. The Bible often shows that Moses was among the greatest of Old Testament figures. But the Bible also tells us that Jesus is not only superior to Moses, but of a different kind than is Moses. It is the difference between Creator and creation that is at stake here.

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