Vol. 5, No. 6
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The events leading up to our text are described in Acts 3. The lame man at the Beautiful Gate was healed by Peter and entered into the temple court "walking and leaping and praising God" (verse 8). This got the attention of the worshippers who were amazed at the miracle, and began to regard Peter and John to be something they most definitely were not. It is then that Peter replies in verse 12, "Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk."
As was always the case with the miraculous, this miracle was used to produce faith. John 20:30-31 reads,
"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
So, it was only fitting that Peter use the opportunity to preach the Gospel. In verse 23, he proclaims, "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you." This was a prophecy quoted from Deuteronomy 18:15 concerning the coming of Christ, and Peter ably applies it here.
This is the passage of Scripture the Jews had in mind when they asked John the Baptist if he was "that prophet" (John 1:21). John, of course, was not, but he explained that he was the one sent to prepare the way for "that prophet." Then, as now, people needed a lesson on the importance of hearing the Son of God.
Many physical similarities exist between Moses and Jesus. Both were preserved in infancy from evil rulers (Exodus 2; Matthew 2:13). Pharaoh ordered all male Israelites born to be cast into the Nile River, while Herod reacted to the birth of Jesus by killing all the male children in Bethlehem under two years of age. Both Jesus and Moses escaped death by God's intervention.
Both were voluntarily poor. Moses "refused to be called son of Pharaoh's daughter choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:24). We read of Christ, "Though he was rich yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Both had a forty-day fast before beginning their respective works. "Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights" before receiving the law (Exodus 24:18). Jesus, of course, fasted that same length of time before being led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (Matthew 4), but there are more significant similarities.
Both were deliverers. Moses delivered the people from Egyptian slavery and Christ delivered mankind from being enslaved to sin. Matthew 1:21 reads, "thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
Both were lawgivers. John 1:17 reads, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." Romans 8:2 records, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
Both were "prophets" for God. A prophet is not necessarily one who foretells future events, but is more a "forth" teller. He is a spokesman for God. Both Moses and Jesus represented God, but Moses recognized Jesus' superiority as he prophesied in Deuteronomy 18, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things."
Moses' law was temporary! Galatians 3:19 reveals, "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made." (Emphasis mine, SPS.) After Christ "finished," or fulfilled it, the law was done. (See John 19:30; and Matthew 5:17.)
In Hebrews 1:1-2 we are informed,
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds."
The "Great salvation" in Hebrews 2:3 was not spoken by Moses, but "first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him." (Emphasis mine, SPS.) Jesus' words were superior to Moses. "For this man [Jesus, SPS] was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house."
Since one cannot serve two masters, (See Luke 16:13), one law had to go! Hebrews 8:8-9 and 13 read,
...I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers... In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."
Jesus is the final authority. Unfortunately, many practice in religion what Christ has NOT spoken: faith only, prayer for salvation, attend the church of your choice, sprinkling/infant baptism, instrumental music, etc. But, Jesus is the "author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:9). Acts 3:22 again states, "...him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you."
Remember what Peter was told on the Mount of Transfiguration after suggesting they build three tabernacles to honor Moses, Elijah and Jesus? "Hear Ye Him!" (Matthew 17:5). The time for heeding Moses and Elijah is now past. They were mere servants and messengers, but Christ is the Son of God. Jesus revealed the truth about worship. Worship was to be "Neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem but...in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).
Jesus revealed the truth about Christian life. Ephesians 4:17-24 states,
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Emphasis Mine, SPS.)
Refusal to listen to Moses was a serious offense punishable by death under the Old Covenant. Hebrews 10:28 records, "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses." God was serious about keeping the Mosaic Law, even though it was temporary, but "Of how much sorer punishment suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith He was sanctified an unholy thing" (Hebrews 10:29). Still, today, we have many as in Peter's day, who refuse to listen and be saved. Our only choices are Accept or Reject him! Matthew 12:30 says, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." When the disciples were asked by Jesus, "Will ye also go away?" Peter rightfully answered Jesus, "Lord to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:67-68). Won't you hear the words of Jesus?