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Fact About Christ from page 9: Christ is so good that Moses was even attracted to the reproach of Christ
He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt– Hebrews 11:26
For our first picture of Christ in Exodus, we come to an incident in the life of Moses. At this time, in Exodus chapter 1, the people of Israel are in Egypt; however, they are not in a place of favor as they were in the time of Joseph. Rather, because a new king arises who does not know Joseph, the children of Israel are under bitter labor as slaves. Furthermore, the king, Pharaoh, commands that all male children of the Israelites are to be killed by casting them into the Nile. It is into this kind of environment that Moses is born and we come to the verses below.
At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.– Acts 7:20-22
One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.– Exodus 2:11-12
Unlike the rest of his people, Moses is raised in the palace of the Pharaoh. He is adopted as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, with all the privileges that come with royalty. He is instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He enjoys all the riches and treasures of Egypt. And for many years he lives as a noble, far from the burdens and sufferings of the Israelites around him. Yet one day, he goes out to his people, and upon witnessing an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, he looks this way and that, and makes a decision that changes the course of his life.
What does the New Testament say about it?
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.– Hebrews 11:24-26
Why did Moses do such a thing? The account does not condone the manslaughter of the Egyptian, but we see how Moses, still a sinful man, had something in his heart that was pleasing to God. According to the writer of Hebrews, Moses considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt. What did Moses see when he looked at his people? A people in slavery. A people uneducated and poor. A people suffering and crying out. A people that would never be appreciated, that would never rule over Egypt. A people of reproach. But who is that group of people? God’s people.
And in that group of God’s people, somehow, Moses sees something of Christ and says: that is better. That is worth more than all the treasures of Egypt. Worth leaving the comfortable life he knew. Worth being mistreated with the people of God, no—even to be mistreated with the people of God was better. In that decision moment, when he looks this way and that, what is he looking at? To see if anyone is watching, yes. But in addition to that, perhaps he looks at the palace, at his school, at his chariot—all what he would be leaving behind. We can’t say exactly how, but in that, he has a glimpse of Christ and a reward, and it was better.
So what does this picture say about Christ?
What kind of Christ did Moses see and consider to be worth giving up all the treasures of Egypt? Not a glorious, shining Christ. But a reviled Christ. A Christ that, when people look at Him, they shake their heads in disapproval and disappointment. A Christ with reproach. What is the reproach of Christ? It is much more than disgrace for the sake of Christ, as one translation renders it. But with Christ, there is always a reproach—it is something inherent with Him. Christ suffers reproach. That’s just part of who He is. He is a suffering Savior. Mackintosh, in his Notes on the Pentateuch, says:
It was not merely reproach for Christ. “The reproaches of them that reproached thee have fallen upon me.” The Lord Jesus, in perfect grace, identified Himself with His people. He came down from heaven, leaving His Father’s bosom, and laying aside all His glory, He took His people’s place, confessed their sins, and bore their judgement on the cursed tree. Such was His voluntary devotedness, He not merely acted for us, but made Himself one with us, thus perfectly delivering us from all that was or could be against us.– C. H. Mackintosh, Notes on the Pentateuch
So Moses, acting in like mind with the Lord Jesus, leaves all the treasures of Egypt. In this way, he could be in fellowship with Christ. This is the value of true fellowship with the Lord. The apostle Paul says he counts all as loss to gain Christ—to know the fellowship of His sufferings, among other things (Phil 3:8-10). To Moses, to be in fellowship with the Lord, to be in fellowship with even just the reproach the Lord experiences, is of great enough value to cause him to change his life forever. Christ is so good that Moses even considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt.
What does this mean for me as a Christian?
Do we realize that there is such a thing as the reproach of Christ? When you are really following Christ, there is a reproach. You’re too extreme. Do you have to love Jesus that much? Why are you spending time with those people? We may never have to make the same choice as Moses, who left his royal privilege to join the enslaved people of God. But in our lives, we may still face this same choice daily. To be mistreated with the people of God, or to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin? Is Christ this good in our eyes? Is fellowship with Him, even with his sufferings, greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt? It is! But do we see that?
What does this mean for the Church?
When Moses saw the people of God, they were beaten, oppressed, uneducated, and poor. Yet in them, he saw something of Christ that was so attractive. He realizes being with this people is worth everything. This is also a picture of the Church. Outwardly, having nothing to be proud of, yet inwardly having Christ. In her trials, in her labors, and in her homes there’s a fellowship with the sufferings of Christ. Ah, may people see through her that even the reproach of Christ is greater wealth than anything else this world has to offer!
Have any inspirations or questions about the content of the article? Or do you just want to say hello and introduce yourself? We’d love to hear from all our readers! Leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title of this post in the subject line. If you are burning to engage with us, but don’t know what to say, here are some questions that could be a help:
- Not every believer is like Moses: firstly attracted by the reproach of Christ. What first caused you to make a decision to follow Jesus?
- How does seeing this picture of the reproach of Christ change the way you might live or think in school? At work? Among family or friends?
- Have you ever been with a group of believers that outwardly were nothing to look at, but inwardly had a deep experiential knowledge of fellowship with God?