Tuesday after the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Hebrews 8:1-13 (NKJV)
1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
When God the Holy Spirit moved the author of this Epistle to write, “Now this is the main point of the things we are saying,” He was not at all saying, “Here’s something to consider,” as in merely providing minor emphasis. He sets up for the reader, by referring to the main point, a whole series of comparisons between Jesus and the Jewish high priests, finally establishing the absolute superiority of Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself in payment for human sin.
For one thing, the high priests never sat in the performance of their duties, as a king seated in state. They were not, “in the order of Melchizedek,” both priest and king. The Jewish high priests served under the old covenant, which was not “faulty” as such. It was, after all, established by God as a temporary guardian, in anticipation of fulfillment by Christ. What is more, the “fault” lay not with the covenant, but with those who did not, indeed, could not, continue in the old covenant.
We rejoice in our age, by the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts, to know the love of Christ which shines at the very center of that new covenant, through which God is merciful to our unrighteousness, and our sins and lawless deeds are remembered no more.
We pray: Lord of Heaven and Earth, grant that Your people always be filled with Your praises that You have planted a holy and living faith in our hearts, through which, by Your grace, we receive the benefits of Christ’s new covenant. Amen.