Moses or Jesus . . .
Why Choose Second Best?
Have you ever read about the gymnast who, after earning a gold medal, chose to accept the silver medal instead? Have you ever witnessed someone stating his or her preference to be named salutatorian instead of valedictorian? Do you know any who declined a raise because they felt the company owed the money to another more deserving employee?
Have you ever experienced any of these? Of course not. Why? Because we know that first is best, that primary is better than secondary, that no one would ever choose second best when first place is waiting. In John 9:29, the Pharisees, a group of influential Jews in Palestine who were known for their accurate interpretations and zealous observance of Jewish Law, announced, “We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” They were expressing their doubts about the spiritual authority of Jesus of Nazareth. These Jewish scholars, numbered by Josephus to be about six thousand strong in Jesus’ day, are confident in the goodness and character of Moses, but are unsure about the religious qualifications of an itinerant preacher who happened to be the son of Joseph and Mary.
Earlier in the Gospel of John, the author writes, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” In other words, God’s judgment and wrath were given through Moses, as seen in the law; God’s grace and love were given through Jesus, demonstrated by the cross. Yet in the first century, some people still preferred to believe in Moses rather than Jesus. For centuries, and even today,many still prefer to place their faith in Moses, God’s chosen leader, rather than in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son.
Have you ever picked the difficult road over the smooth road? Have you ever chosen the painful way over the painless way? Would you prefer judgment if grace were available? The Pharisees did because they believed that their pious living was holy enough to allow them to escape the judgment. Thus, they felt that they did not need god’s grace. Sadly, when their lives ended, they learned in death what we must all learn in life. Your pious deeds and my good works are not enough to allow us to escape judgment. “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
As sinful human beings, we cannot escape the judgment, we can only beg for mercy. The Pharisees were too proud to admit their need for a Savior. Thankfully, by God’s grace, I am too sinful to be deluded by my own righteousness. I know I need a Savior. I know you need a Savior. His name is not Moses.
Moses was a godly man, a talented leader, a skillful administrator, a trusted deliverer. Yet, Moses was also a murderer and a coward. Moses knew he was not the Savior, but the Pharisees, who knew the law but not the God of the law, failed to understand that.
Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king. Jesus answered in John 18:37, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.”
What is the truth? How can you know the truth? Jesus Himself explained in John 14:6, “I am the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
In this verse, Jesus gives the solitary roadmap to heaven. You do not receive eternal life by believing in Moses, but by placing your faith and trust in Truth Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation comes not by Moses or Abraham or Elijah, or John the Baptist or John Wesley or Billy Graham or Martin Luther King Jr. Everlasting salvation comes only by the Savior of all these men. God’s promised Messiah, a carpenter born in Bethlehem named Jesus Christ.
Why pick second best when first place is waiting to receive you? Why pick Moses when Jesus is calling out to you? Why pick a human when you could pick God Himself? Why depend on your strength when the Creator of the universe offers you His power?
Don’t pick Moses; pick Moses’ Messiah. You need a Savior; I need a Savior. We all need to know God, and we can only know Him through His Son. Give the control of your life to Jesus, ask Him to be your Savior. Don’t pick second best when first place is waiting.
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