Now, because we see this situation around us each day, how are we supposed to see a connection between Moses and Jesus? The most obvious is that Jesus came to reconcile. He came to reconcile by showing that He was the Messiah that allowed God’s people to live both within and beyond the yoke of human rulers, through the Kingdom of God that He was establishing. He reconciled religious factions and showed them that their petty differences were swallowed up by the scope of His Salvation mission.
He provided reconciliation by becoming the end of the law for those who believe, and that their wrangling over that which brought them under a curse was useless and un-necessary, as the basis for blessing and cursing was now to be found in relation to Him and whether or not one believed upon His Name. He reconciled by bringing the Kingdom of Heaven in amongst men and setting it up above all rulers and authorities, showing His brethren that they did not have to live separate from the world, but that through Him, and through His working through them, by faith, in the power of the Holy Spirit, that He would bring renewal and restoration and reconciliation to God’s chosen, elected, covenant people throughout the world, and to the world itself.
Beyond that, and in thinking about a specific application of this scene from Moses’ life to that of Jesus, we have to look at the question that came to Moses, which was “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us?” In chapter twelve of Luke, we find that “Someone in the crowd said to Him,” Him being Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” (12:13). How did Jesus reply? He said, “Man, who made Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” (12:14) Moses was challenged as to who gave him the right to rule and judge. Later on, upon God’s authority, he did become that very ruler and judge.
Jesus, on the other hand, had every right to rule and judge and arbitrate, but did not do so. Had He done so, this could have been seen as Jesus taking steps to set Himself up as an earthly authority, which would then have given the Roman government just cause to prosecute and probably execute Him for seditious behavior. Moses had initially been rejected as a ruler and judge, while Jesus rejected the opportunity to take that role. As was said, Moses would later become that very thing, as would Jesus, after being unlawfully put to death as a revolutionary leader, but then rising from the dead, as “the One appointed by God to be the judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42b).
Continuing on, Stephen says, “This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’---this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush” (7:35). Here, Stephen refers to the incident of Moses and the burning bush, where he heard a voice that said, “I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob” (7:32a). This would have been a reminder, to Moses, and to Stephen’s hearers, of God’s covenantal promises toward His people. As Moses was looked to as a ruler and redeemer, so too was the Messiah, Who was to be the embodiment and fulfiller of all of God’s promises of covenant. Additionally, the reference of “the angel who appeared to him” must surely put us in mind of the fact that Jesus’ birth, the birth of the Ruler and Redeemer, was announced by angels both before and after its occurrence.
Of both Moses and Jesus it can be said, “This man led them out, performing signs and wonders” (7:36a). Of both Moses and Jesus it can be said, “He received living oracles to give to us” (7:38b). Unfortunately, of both Moses and Jesus, it can be said, “Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts turned…saying…’Make us gods who will go before us’.” (7:39-40a)