Skip to content

Jesus Moses Comparative Essay

“Compare and Contrast the Portrait of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of John.”

1269 WordsOct 23rd, 20116 Pages

Throughout the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, it is apparent that there are similarities as well as differences when it comes to portraying the life and times of Jesus the Christ, the general descriptions of who Jesus was, and the sayings and deeds of Jesus during his short stay on this earth. Scripture scholars highlight that each Gospel writer viewed Jesus from a different perspective.

“The Church has always and everywhere maintained, and continues to maintain, the apostolic origin of the four Gospels. The apostles preached, as Christ had charged them to do, and then, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they and others of the apostolic age handed on to us in writing the same message they had preached, the…show more content…

Hence why different portraits of Jesus are presented.
In Matthew 1-2, the infant stories are used to prepare the ground for the theme of Jesus; the new and perfect Moses, the great teacher and interpreter of God’s ways. A parallel can be drawn between the experiences of the infant Jesus and the experience of Moses. This can be seen in Matthew 2:16-18, where the slaying of innocent male Hebrew children occurred around the time of the birth of Jesus, and in Exodus 1:15-22, where Hebrew children were also murdered at the time of Moses’ birth. Just as Moses came out of Egypt, leading the people of God, so does Jesus. Following the infancy stories, the rest of Matthew’s Gospel is structured around five long discourses where Jesus teaches. On each occasion, the evangelist indicates that a great teacher has been at work (Maloney, 1988, p. 133-34).
These discourses are
 Matthew 5:1 – 7:29 The Sermon on the Mount
 Matthew 10:1 – 11:1 The mission of the disciples and of the whole Church
 Matthew 13:2-53 Jesus teaches his disciples through parables
 Matthew 18:1-35 Jesus instructing the disciples on the way his church should live
 Matthew 24-25 Dealing with the Last Judgement

These five great discourses illustrate that Matthew has constructed his Gospel around Jesus as the perfect teacher. This greatest of all teachers communicates his message through these five discourses, a repetition in the New Testament of the law of Judaism- the five great books of

Show More

This post will focus on the similarities of Moses and Jesus. Many of the items listed below focus on the historical aspects of their person while some focus on the attributes of the Revelation given to them by God. I included 40 similarities to commemorate the importance of the number 40 in the various Revelations included in the Bible. Each are ordered according to their sequence within the Old Testament.

  1. At the time when Moses was born, the Egyptians ruled over the Israelites (Exodus 1:8-10). At the time when Jesus was born, the Romans ruled over the Israelites (Luke 2:1-5). Each was born when the Hebrew nation was occupied and at a low point in history.
  2. Pharaoh ordered all the Hebrew sons to be killed upon birth. When this was not executed by the midwives, Pharaoh then ordered all sons to be killed (Exodus 1:16-22). King Herod ordered all Hebrew sons to be killed upon birth (Matthew 2:16).
  3. When Moses was born, his mother hid him for three months in Egypt (Exodus 2:2). Jesus was hid in Egypt for an unspecified amount of time after birth (Matthew 2:13).
  4. Moses was named as such because he was drawn out of the water (Exodus 2:10). Jesus went straightway out of the water after being baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11). Drawing from the well of water is a symbol of salvation (Isaiah 12:3). The name Jesus means salvation.
  5. Moses was raised by a man, Pharaoh, who was not his natural father (Exodus 2:9-10). Jesus was raised by a man who was not his natural father (Luke 2:33). In this case, Jesus did not have a natural father.
  6. Moses was initially rejected by his people and took a gentile bride, Zipporah (Exodus 2:11-14 and 16-21). Jesus was initially rejected by his people and took a gentile bride, the Church (2 Corinthians 11:2).
  7. Moses saw his brethren being treated unfairly by the Egyptians and had compassion on them (Exodus 2:11). Jesus saw his brethren as needing a shepherd and had compassion on them (Mark 6:34). Moses took his flock to the Promised Land and Jesus promised His flock heaven.
  8. Moses was at a well and was kind to the daughters of the Midian priests. He watered their flock, which was not a common practice at that time (Exodus 2:17). Jesus was at a well and was kind to a Samaritan woman. He offered her water (John 4:9-11). This practice was also uncommon. The water Jesus offered was the water of salvation.
  9. Moses remained in exile in a foreign land until the King of Egypt (Pharaoh) died (Exodus 2:23). Jesus was in exile in a foreign land (Egypt) until King Herod died. (Matthew 2: 19-20)
  10. Moses’ ministry started supernaturally with the burning bush and God speaking to Him (Exodus 3: 2-4). Jesus’ ministry started supernaturally when the dove descended on Him and a voice from Heaven spoke (Matthew 3:16-17). It is at this point when each gave Revelation to the people.
  11. Moses was sent by God to “come down” and deliver His people to the Promised Land (Exodus 3:8). Jesus was sent by God to “come down” deliver His people to Heaven (Luke 4:18). You can say that Heaven is now the Promised Land.
  12. Moses performed many public miracles following God’s direction (Exodus 4:4-9). Jesus performed many public miracles following God’s direction (John 5:19-20). The specific miracles differed but each occurred only due to God’s power.
  13. Moses liberated the Hebrews so that they may serve God (Exodus 9:1). Jesus liberated mankind so that mankind may serve God (Hebrews 9:14 and 12:28).
  14. Moses used the blood of a lamb to protect the Israelites from death. The blood was also used to free the Israelites from bondage (Exodus 12). Jesus was the Lamb of God who protected mankind from death. The blood was also used to free mankind from the bondage of sin. (John 1:29 and Hebrews 9:11-15)
  15. Moses used a covenant meal (Passover) for Israel to remember their Lord’s deliverance (Exodus 12:25-27). Jesus used a covenant meal (Last Supper) for his disciples to remember their Lord’s deliverance (Luke 22:14-20).
  16. Moses was used to reveal the healing power of God (Exodus 15:26). Jesus was used to reveal the healing power of God (Matthew 4:23).
  17. Moses fed the multitude of Israelites in a supernatural way (Exodus 16:16). Jesus fed a multitude, 5000 people, in a supernatural way (Matthew 14:19-21).
  18. Moses gave the Israelites bread from Heaven called Manna for 40 years (Exodus 16:27-36). Jesus said He was the bread from heaven that gives life to the world (John 6:33).
  19. Moses instructed his people to gather bread (Manna) daily (Exodus 16:20-21). Jesus instructed His disciples to feed their souls with spiritual bread daily (Matthew 6:11).
  20. Moses feared being stoned by the Israelites (Exodus 17:4). The people were ready to stone Jesus (John 10:31). Each was for different reasons but does demonstrate the spiritual condition of the people.
  21. Moses received God’s Law on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:3). Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount with the promise to fulfill God’s Law (Matthew 5:1-17). The mountain Jesus was on is unnamed but the correlation to both Moses and Jesus using a mountain in reveal matters of God’s Law is important.
  22. Moses was the judge for Israel an the final authority for decision making (Exodus 18-22). Jesus will return as the judge for mankind (2 Corinthians 5:10 and 2 Timothy 4:1).
  23. Moses was a mouthpiece for God by speaking the Words God gave Him. (Exodus 19:7-8). Jesus was a mouthpiece for God by speaking the Words God gave Him. (John 8:28-29)
  24. God came to Moses in a thick cloud (Exodus 19:9 and 24:16). God came to Jesus in a thick cloud (Mark 9:7).
  25. Moses sprinkled the blood of the first covenant on the people (Exodus 24:8). Jesus used the blood of the new covenant, His own blood, to sanctify the people (Hebrews 13:12).
  26. God gave Moses commandments to teach His people (Exodus 24:12). God gave Jesus commandments to teach His people (John 13:34)
  27. Moses interceded with God on behalf of the people of Israel (Exodus 32:11-14). Jesus interceded with God on behalf of mankind, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 53:12 by being the final sacrifice for sin (Matthew 20:28).
  28. Moses fasted for 40 days and 40 nights upon receiving the Torah from God (Exodus 34:28). Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights when He was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-2).
  29. Moses’ face shone with the glory of God (Exodus 34:29). Jesus’ face shone with the glory of God (Matthew 17:1-12).
  30. God told Moses how He wanted to be worshipped using the Tabernacle (Exodus 40). God told Jesus how He wanted to be worshipped in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).
  31. Moses commanded the children of Israel to keep their lamps burning continuously (Leviticus 24:2). Jesus commanded His children to let their light shine continuously before men (Matthew 5:15-16).
  32. Moses’ brethren criticized and challenged Him. (Numbers 12:1-2). Jesus’ brethren criticized and challenged Him. (John 7:5 and Matthew 13:57)
  33. Moses asked God to pardon the inequity of His people (Numbers 14:19) and God listened (Numbers 14:20). Jesus asked God to forgive the inequity of those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34) and God listened (John 11:41-42).
  34. Moses said the little ones would enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:31). Jesus said the Kingdom of God belonged to the little ones (Mark 10:14).
  35. God showed the Israelites that Moses was sent from Him using signs and wonders (Numbers 16:28). Jesus told the people that His works were to prove the Father was in Him and He was in the Father (John 14:10-11).
  36. Moses made a serpent on a pole and the Israelites were healed when they looked upon it (Numbers 21:9). Jesus was lifted on a pole (the cross) and those who looked up on Him by faith were healed (John 3:14-15).
  37. Moses chose 12 men to go out and bring fruit (Deuteronomy 1:23). Jesus chose 12 men and sent them out to bear fruit (Matthew 10:1).
  38. Moses said that in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses a truth would be established (Deuteronomy 19:15). Jesus said that anywhere 2 or 3 witnesses would gather in His name, He would be in their midst. Jesus is the Truth (Matthew 18:20).
  39. Moses reappeared after His death (Matthew 17:3). Jesus reappeared after His resurrection (Acts 1:3).
  40. Moses was a shepherd of God’s people (Psalms 77:20). Jesus called Himself the “good shepherd” (John 10: 11-16).

As a summary, both submitted themselves to the Will of God and served God until the end of their physical lives. They did the Will of God and spoke His Word, guiding a people from darkness into light. Both had extraordinary gifts and miraculous power, given to them by God, who is All-Powerful and All-Knowing. The Israelites and later mankind learned how to worship, fast, and be pure in action as well as in spirit. The unity of a nation was achieved, even if for a short time, and now the unity of over 1 billion people is possible due to the sovereignty and authority of both Moses and Jesus.

From Abdu’l-Baha

The divine Prophets are conjoined in the perfect state of love. Each One has given the glad tidings of His successor’s coming and each successor has sanctioned the One Who preceded Him. They were in the utmost unity, but Their followers are in strife. For instance, Moses gave the message of the glad tidings of Christ, and Christ confirmed the Prophethood of Moses. Therefore, between Moses and Jesus there is no variation or conflict. They are in perfect unity, but between the Jew and the Christian there is conflict. Now, therefore, if the Christian and Jewish peoples investigate the reality underlying their Prophets’ teachings, they will become kind in their attitude toward each other and associate in the utmost love, for reality is one and not dual or multiple. If this investigation of reality becomes universal, the divergent nations will ratify all the divine Prophets and confirm all the Holy Books. No strife or rancor will then remain, and the world will become united. Then will we associate in the reality of love. We will become as fathers and sons, as brothers and sisters living together in complete unity, love and happiness; for this century is the century of light. It is not like former centuries. Former centuries were epochs of oppression. Now human intellects have developed, and human intelligence has increased. Each soul is investigating reality. This is not a time when we shall wage war and be hostile toward each other. We are living at a time when we should enjoy real friendship.

(Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 222)

Like this:



Tags: Abdu'l-, Abdul-Baha, Egyptians, God, Hebrew, Israelites, Jesus, Manifestations of God, Moses, prophets, unity