“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
Question: In Hebrews 11:24-26, how was Moses even aware of the `reproach of Christ`? He lived over a thousand years before Jesus was even born.
Answer: To begin answering that question it is important to remember that “Christ” is not a name. It is a title. It means “the anointed one” and is synonymous with the term “Messiah”. So when Moses endures the reproach of Christ, he is not enduring the reproach of Jesus per se, but is enduring the reproach of an unnamed Messiah who was promised to the people of Israel (which is the role we now know Jesus would fulfill).
The “reproach of Christ” describes a type of reproach. It describes any suffering endured by the people of God for God’s sake, specifically for their belief in a Messiah. This then includes any type of suffering experienced by God’s chosen people before or after Jesus’ life. Moses was cast out of Egypt because of his faithfulness to God. He believed in a coming Messiah and the fulfillment of all of God’s promises (as is evidenced by circumcision [Gen. 17:6-10] which the Egyptians explicitly did not perform [Josh. 5:8-9]). Similarly, if you and I are mocked or attacked for our faithfulness to God and his promises, we are also bearing the reproach of Christ (2 Cor. 1:5; Heb. 13:13). The people of God are seen as the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27) and to revile the body is the same as reviling Jesus Christ. This applies to the faithful in all places at all times.