When God gives a gift, He gives his best. No one can out do or out give God. He tops the cake. He gives the greatest gift.
What gift could God give that would wow the world? The gift was himself.
The big idea of Hebrews from the beginning until now is that Jesus is the greatest. Above Jesus none is greater! In chapter 8, this idea continues, but focuses moves towards Jesus as the Great High Priest (v.1).
“Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more. ”
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” – Hebrews 8:1-13, ESV
Think about it, at this very moment, Jesus is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. He is ministering in the true Holy of holies that the earthly tabernacle where priests ministered only represented (vs.2-5). Jesus stepped into the role of High Priest and sacrifice. A role only needed once for all.
Jesus ministers a greater covenant on greater promises (vs.6-7). Not only did Jesus minister the covenant, but he was its author, fulfiller, and mediator. The New Covenant that Jeremiah prophesied about was actualized with Jesus’ life and ministry (vs.8-12, cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34). Jesus makes the first covenant obsolete and the second one complete.
Through Jesus there is no need for another priest or covenant ever (v.13). For millennia God’s people had to access God through a middleman like a patriarch, prophet or priest. Jesus became that middleman and now we have forever access to God. What greater gift could God have given us than this?
Questions for Reflection:
- What are some examples of things you’ve experienced that are “less than the best”?
- What is a covenant? What covenant have you made? (i.e. family, work, society, etc)
- What is the Bible’s understanding of a covenant?
- Why is the first covenant obsolete? What does this mean for Israel?
- What makes the New Covenant greater?
- What do you learn about the New Covenant? (vs.8-12) What about the covenant is hard to understand?
- Where is Jesus now? Why is that so important?
- What is a mediator? How is Jesus a mediator?
- Jesus is God’s Great High Priest, but is there anything that can minimize his greatness?
- What are things you often make greater than Jesus?
- How is God writing his law on your heart?