In this episode, we continue looking at the life of Moses – one of the most influential characters in all of Christian Scripture – and how that life of faithfulness helps set the stage for the coming of Christ. Both Moses and Jesus suffered similar things. Exploring scenes from Moses’ life, we endeavor to define truth. And we discover how we can live a life invested in the truth. The Hall of Faith is an example to obey God and love other people. In the end, a life of love and service is not just best for others; it is best for us as well.
The Reproaches of Christ
I think what we can see here is if we look at the reproaches Christ suffered, I think we’ll see the same thing that Moses suffered. And what Moses chose is a pattern of what Christ chose.
Let’s look at it. I’m going to propose that the reproaches of Christ fell into two categories. And, of course, we’re invited to do likewise: choose the reproaches of Christ over the passing pleasures of sin.
1) Rejection by Family, Friends, Community
The first category I’m going to propose that the reproaches of Christ fell into is family, friends, and community.
Rejection by Family
Let’s look at Matthew 13:53. “Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, that he departed from there. When he had come to his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things? So they were offended at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, and in his own house.’ Now he did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”
Who is rejecting him here? His own town. And? His own house. His own family.
Let’s look at John 7:1. “After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for he did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to him, ‘Depart from here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works that you are doing. ‘For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world. For even his brothers did not believe in him.” They’re mocking him.
John 7:6. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘My time is not yet come, but your time is always ready.”
Rejection by Pharisees
Another whole group that rejected Jesus was the Pharisees. Now the Pharisees were the theological conservatives of the day. They were the defenders of the faith.
Do you know where the Pharisees came from? Do you know their origin? They go back to the Maccabees, which is like 160 B.C., something like that. The Maccabees rose up like a band of people against a mighty army, basically. They rose up against Syria because the Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes, had decreed that it was illegal to practice Jewish practices. He was going to eradicate Judaism altogether, once and for all, and install Hellenism for the whole world.
And a grandfather who circumcised his son was killed, and the Maccabees rose up with a little armed resistance, and God intervened, and basically they just left them alone. Eh, it’s not worth the trouble, and went off to do something else. And Israel became a sovereign nation under this Maccabean priestly leadership for about a hundred years until Rome came in and took them over.
Well, the Maccabees, their descendents, their adherents, broke into two groups: the Sadducees and the Pharisees.
The Sadducees kind of compromised with the Romans and adopted Greek ways. You don’t really see Jesus talk to them. As a matter of fact, one of the top Herodians was Herod. And when Jesus was brought before Herod, he won’t even talk to him.
But the theological conservatives, the ones who believe the Bible, the ones who adhere to sound doctrine, these guys were the Pharisees. Jesus talked to them all the time. And he talked to them in fairly stern tones. Whose children do you talk to in stern tones, other people’s or your own? Your own, right? And he talked to the Pharisees because that’s where he was from. The Pharisees was his team. The Pharisees, it was us. When you see Pharisees, you see Midland Bible Church-type people. That’s who this is.
And they rejected him. Why did they reject him? He didn’t fit their mold. He made life uncomfortable for them.
Rejection by Disciples
He was betrayed by his disciples. He was betrayed or rejected by his disciples. Obviously he was betrayed by Judas. Peter and the other ten denied him and ran away.
Let’s look at Matthew 16:13. “When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’”
Matthew 16:16. “Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’”
And Jesus says boy, you’re really blessed because you know that.
Then we look at verse 21, and it says, “From that time Jesus began to show to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
Who’s he talking to? His disciples. He’s talking specifically to his disciples about this.
Then comes Peter, and Peter takes him aside. Now why would Peter take him aside? He doesn’t want to humiliate him. He takes him aside and he begins to rebuke him. And his rebuke is this, “Far be it from you, Lord; this shall not happen to you.” (Matthew 16:22)
I think this is really one of the funniest scenes in the Bible.
And then he says to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an offense to me, for you’re not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23) Do you see the triangle here? God or man? Which one is it going to be, God or man?
And this is right after he said hey, you’re really blessed because you see who I am. And, of course, shortly thereafter, this same guy, Peter, denies him three times, goes out and weeps bitterly. The disciples all leave him. Judas, of course, betrays him.
That’s a pretty robust picture of rejection, don’t you think?
The Reproach of Moses
Well, let’s look at Moses. Look at Numbers 12:1. “Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses—” Do you know who Miriam and Aaron are? His brother and sister. “Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married—”
So his first wife is Zipporah, who is a Midianite; and I believe that Miriam and Aaron are both Midianites. So he marries a woman from another nation, and they get really ticked off about it.
Rejection by Family
So what are they going to do? “So they said, ‘Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?’”
So what are they doing here? They’re trying to take over. This is an everyday event. It happens in every company every day. If somebody’s vulnerable they try to take their spot by bumping somebody off. It happens in politics all the time. This is a pretty normal thing for people to do. We’re going to bump this guy off.
Of course, God intervenes for Moses and keeps it from happening. Poor Miriam ends up as a leper for seven days. Only seven days because Moses intervenes for her, says please don’t do this to my sister.
Look at Exodus 32:22. This is Aaron speaking. “So Aaron said, ‘Do not let the anger of my Lord become hot.” So this is Moses comes back, sees the golden calf, is the scene here.
Moses says to Aaron, “What did you people do? And why have you brought so great a sin on them?”
So here’s Aaron’s answer: “Do not let the anger of my Lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’”
How long had he been gone? 40 days. They’d seen the Red Sea part. They’d seen the rock give water. They’d seen all these miracles. Forty days later, they’re ready to go back.
Exodus 32:24 “And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”
If you’re Moses, what are you thinking right now about Aaron? You betrayed me. I left you in charge of the people. I just left you for a little while, and I come back, and they’re having a sex orgy and worshipping a golden calf.
When it says “They sat down to eat and rose up to play,” that’s a euphemism for—and where had they seen that before, by the way? Egypt.
Yeah, so here’s Moses and he had all of that he wanted, and he said, nope, I’m setting that aside for the reproaches of Christ, and he comes back, and here they are doing it.
And he looks to Aaron and says, “What are you doing?” “All I did was take the gold and put it in the fire? It just kind of came out. You know these people. What could I do?”
So he’s rejected by his brother and sister. He’s betrayed by his right-hand man, who is Aaron.
Rejection by Wife
There’s another episode that’s really interesting in Exodus. His wife Zipporah, they’re coming to Egypt. He’s coming with his wife and his children. It’s kind of interesting the way it states it there. I’m going to fill in the gaps with what I think is going on.
I think what’s happening, the inference is that God wanted Moses to circumcise his children. They had not been circumcised. And Zipporah is resisting this, and so God shows up and says, if you don’t circumcise your kids, I’m going to take them out. And so Zipporah goes and circumcises the kids, and comes, and throws the foreskins down at the feet of Moses and says, here! I hope you’re happy! You’re a husband of blood to me. I’m sure she said it in an even more scornful tone, from the context.
So, here you’ve got Moses. He’s been told, go and confront Pharaoh, tell him to let my people go, and he’s on the way to Egypt. Is this an easy thing or a hard thing for him to do? It’s very hard, right? And he says, why’s he going to listen to me? I can’t even talk well. God says, I’ll be with you. Moses says, okay.
He’s got this massively difficult task in front of him, and his helper is not being very helpful.
Does he turn back? Does he say, I can’t do this without your help, honey. We’ll just go back home. No, he keeps going.
So we’ve got the triangle again. I’ve got my brother, my right hand man that you gave me; he betrays me. I’m going to keep walking with God. I’ve got my sister trying to overthrow me. I’m going to keep walking with God. My wife trying to throw me under the bus. I’m going to keep going.
It’s pretty remarkable. The reproaches of Christ.
2) Rejection by the World
The other category—so we’ve got family, friends, and so forth—the other category that we have isin the reproach of Christ is rejection by the world’s system. Let’s look at John 18. Pharaoh was the ruler of the world, and we have Moses standing before Pharaoh. In John 18, we have Jesus standing before the representative of the ruler of the world, which is Rome. And that’s Pilate.
So he’s standing before Pilate, (John 18:31-38) “Then Pilate said to them, ‘You take him and judge him according to your law’—” speaking to the Jews.
“Therefore the Jews said to him, ‘It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,’ that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which he spoke, signifying by what death he should die.
Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to him, ‘Are you King of the Jews?
Jesus answered him, ‘Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning me?’
Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me. What have you done?’
Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; But now my kingdom is not of this world.’”
“Pilate therefore said to him, ‘Are you a king then?’
Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’
Pilate said to him, ‘What is truth?’”
What is Truth?
I looked up a quote of Lenin, Vladimir, the Marxist Lenin, the inventor of communism. And he said,
“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”
What is truth? To the Roman world, what was truth? Whatever they said it was. Whatever was expedient to them.
Well, let’s look at Exodus 5:1. Let’s look at Moses before the mightiest power on earth. “Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let my people go that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?—’” I don’t know the Lord.
Who is God that I would obey him? What is truth? Truth is what I say it is. Who’s God? I’m god.
The power of the world says we’ll make the rules. Truth is what I say it is.
Jesus says, I’m not of this world. My kingdom is not of this world. Not yet.
Let’s bring it all to landing in our own lives. Let’s go back to Hebrews 2 and review again what we’ve talked about many times through the Hebrews series. Jesus is a better son with a better administration in a better world. He’s presented in the book of Hebrews.
In Hebrews 2:5 it says, “For he has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying: ‘What is man that you’re mindful of him, or the son of man that you take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of your hands.’”
The Design of Man
We as people were designed to rule the world. That’s what we were designed for. When God told Abraham, “I’ll make you a great nation,” he was leaning into that for which we’ve been designed. Hebrews 2:8. “For in that he put all things in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.” Boy, the understatement of the Bible.
Right now the world just isn’t very much in our control.
Here’s what we do see. Hebrews 2:9. “But we see Jesus, who is made a little lower than the angels—” He became a man like us. “—for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
So what we’re offered—and it goes on to say he wants to bring many sons to glory. That’s his goal.
What we’re offered in the book of Hebrews, what we’re offered in the Hall of Faith as an example is to live not a payday life but an investment life. And what God wants to give us is a great nation and to make our name great and to bless the whole earth through us.
And how do we do that, according to the book of Hebrews? We obey today.
And in what area do we obey? Remember Hebrews 13. Love other people. Be faithful with what God’s given you. Whoever’s in your sphere of influence, work in such a way that you serve their best interests. Be hospitable. Share your stuff. Be content with what you have. Remember those who are being persecuted just like you were being persecuted with them. Have a great marriage.
By doing those things in obedience, not as a payday thing—you know, how can I get as much pleasure today as possible?—but even in the face of rejection from friends and family, even in the face of rejection from community, even when the world’s system comes in and tries to oppose us, we say, you know, payday is coming. I’m going to build my ark. And when the judgment comes, I’ll be ready. I’m going to obey, and I’m going to leave my country, and I’m going to go to where God’s given me. Because I want these great rewards that are lasting, not just this passing thing. And to the extent that the world offers me money, sex, power, fame, whatever it is, like I could be in the house of Pharaoh, I’m not going to grasp that. I would rather have the reproaches of Christ because I want to see the reward. I don’t want to please people, and I don’t want to be a slave to my own pleasures. I want to please God, and I want something that lasts.
When we love others, and when we really build our marriage, when we live this life of love and obedience on a current basis, what we’re doing is building a name; and we’re entering the promise to have our name lifted up.
And how do we know that? Because Jesus has already paved the way.
Have in your mind this same mind that was in Jesus. Although he had some stuff he could cling to, he said, nope, I’m not going to cling to that. Not going to cling to my hometown. Not going to cling to my comfortable life. What I’m going to do is follow this path that Jesus set out for me.
Now, not everybody here is really young. Remember Abraham was 75 when he started this path. It’s never too late to start. And it’s never too early to begin. There’s a call for all of us.
In the scheme of life, it’s Wednesday, and payday’s on Friday. You have a wisp of vapor life; and today’s the day when we can be obedient and live for something that lasts.