"Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set ..." (John 5:45-47)

"But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?" (John 5:45-47)

Why does Jesus refer to Moses as their accuser?

The reason is that Moses was (and is) the central spiritual teacher of the Jewish nation, and Moses delivered to the Jewish nation many instructions and commandments from God. Therefore, Moses was God's representative, and the institutional temple priests that Jesus is speaking to here held Moses as the father of their faith.

This is confirmed by the word "hopes" - as in "Moses, on whom your hopes are set." The word "hopes" is not the best choice of translation.* The Greek word ἐλπίζω (elpizō) can mean "to hope" but also "hopefully to trust in."*

In other words, because these institutional temple priests are supposedly relying upon Moses' teachings, and presented to the people that they represented Moses, they will have to answer to Moses, not Jesus.

We can understand two clear things from this: We can understand that Jesus held to the standard of taking instruction from a particular representative of God and then passing those instructions on. This is the standard that Jesus accepted, rather than a standard of blindly following the teachings of an institution. 

Coming to know and love God is a personal thing: It is not a group thing. A relationship with God has nothing to do with our standing with a particular organization or congregation: It is between each of us and God. Jesus taught love of God to personally introduce us to the notion that we could have a personal relationship with God.

Were they hearing Moses' teachings?

Thus Jesus is clarifying that while the institutional temple priests were presenting to others that they had some special connection with Moses, they indeed were not even focused on what Moses actually taught. If they were, they would have recognized that Jesus was the embodiment of Moses' teachings. Jesus was functionally practicing and teaching what Moses taught.

So what did Moses teach? Consider Deut 6:5:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deut. 6:5)
And what did Jesus teach?
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)
Jesus says this is the "first and greatest commandment," yet the instruction is identical with the instruction of Moses. Why would Jesus quote Moses and then say this was the first and greatest commandment? Because they were teaching the same thing.

Furthermore, Joshua also confirms the essence of Moses’ teachings:
“But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to obey His commands, to hold fast to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul." (Joshua 22:5)
We can see that Joshua was also teaching the same thing as Moses taught, and as Jesus taught. So we can see here that Joshua, the student of Moses, is truly representing Moses to the people, because his teachings are consistent with Moses.

How did Moses write about Jesus?

Is Jesus saying that Moses wrote specifically about Jesus? Because Moses’ focus was to instruct the Israelites about loving and serving the Supreme Being, Jesus is the embodiment of those instructions. Jesus is carrying out those instructions. He is loving God. He is serving God. He has given his life to God, just as Moses instructed.

And because Moses instructed his students to work for the pleasure of God, Jesus carried out Moses instructions. Thus Jesus could say that Moses’ teachings were about him. Yet Moses’ teachings were also about Joshua, David, Solomon, Job and so many others who also gave their lives to God and worked to please God. They all embodied Moses' teachings.

Context is important. Jesus is speaking to those who were saying they represented Moses but were not living by the primary central instructions of Moses. God was not the center of their lives. 

Rather, they were so caught up in the organizational minutia and rituals of their priestly positions. Their focus was in maintaining their positions of authority. This is why they were questioning Jesus, instead of realizing that Jesus was the pure loving servant of God: Moses' true representative.

The institutional temple priests were wearing priestly clothes and following rituals discussed in the scriptures. But they were not living the central instruction of Moses. 

They did not get (or teach) the essence of Moses' teachings. This is actually no different than some of today's sectarian priests, ministers, reverends, popes, cardinals and bishops who claim they represent Jesus. They may wear the robes and practice so many rituals. But do not focus on "the first and greatest commandment.”

Moses also said:
“And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear [honor and respect] the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)
This is the essence of Moses' teachings, and what Jesus’ life and teachings were all about. Jesus was perfectly following the instructions of Moses: Jesus was loving and serving God with all his heart and all his soul.

*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement according to the Lost Gospels of Jesus:

"Do not think I will accuse you before the Creator; the one who accuses you is Moses, upon whom you put your hope. For if you trusted Moses, you would trust me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not trust his writings, how will you trust my words?” (John 5:45-47)