Why did Jesus say that Moses is our accuser?

Email Received:

In John 5:45, Jesus says that Moses is our accuser. Yet, the same is said of Satan. What does this mean? How can Moses be our accuser?

Ted's Response:

Here is the verse to which you are referring:

But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. (John 5:45)
However, to understand this verse, it is important to consider it in the context of the whole passage. We see in John 5:16 that the Jews were persecuting Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, which displeased them. He had healed a crippled man, who then told the Jews that Jesus had made him well (5:5-15).

Jesus told these Jews that He had come to finish the work that the Father had sent him to do (John 5:36). However, Jesus was talking to non-believing Jews who did not believe Him; He told them that they never had heard the voice of the Father, or seen His form, nor did His word dwell in them (5:37,38).

They mistakenly thought that studying the Scriptures would bring them eternal life, not understanding that the Scriptures testified that it was Jesus who could give them eternal life (John 5:39,40). So when Jesus said that Moses was their accuser (5:45), He was not talking to those who believed in Him; He was talking to those who had rejected Him.

The Jews held Moses in high esteem. However, they failed to understand that Moses had written about the coming Prophet, Jesus. Moses told the Israelites that God would raise up a Prophet from among them (Deuteronomy 18:15,18)—who was Jesus—and that God would hold to account anyone who did not listen to the words that the Prophet (Jesus) would speak in His name (18:19). It was testified by others that Jesus was the one Moses wrote about, the Prophet who was to come into the world (John 1:45, 6:14).

Jesus said that He would not accuse them before the Father because it was Moses who was their accuser (John 5:45). He meant that they would be guilty in the eyes of the Father due to their failure to believe what Moses had written about the coming Prophet, Jesus.

So although they claimed to believe the words of Moses, they failed to believe His prophetic words about Jesus. Therefore, they were unable to believe all the things that Jesus said and taught (John 5:46,47). As a result, God would hold them accountable for failing to heed the words that Jesus spoke in His name (Deuteronomy 18:19)

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