The writer of Hebrews is now really beginning to move forward his argument for the supremacy of Christ as the high priest that will minister the New Covenant that has been given to the people. Here are a few of the things that we can see about the New Covenant as noted in Hebrews 8:
Previously, the Old Covenant with Moses brought laws that the people must obey. Now, quoting the prophecy of Jeremiah, we see that God has written His law on the hearts of His people:
I will put my laws in their mindsHebrews 8:10
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
Previously in the Old Covenant, Moses mediated with the people by giving them laws that they must obey. Now, Jesus has offered love, grace, and mercy to God’s people and they will obey God because of their love back to Him for what Jesus has done for them.
Previously in the Old Covenant, the covenant was confirmed through the sacrifice and blood of animals. Now, the New Covenant is confirmed through the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross.
Previously in the Old Covenant, the priests were from the tribe of Levi, serving the rest of the people. Now in the New Covenant, all believers are priests of the Covenant with Christ serving as the High Priest.
The Old Covenant is no longer necessary because the New Covenant has now been made between God and His people through the work of Christ. The New Covenant is the covenant that will live on and last forever.
These differences have significant implications on our world today. Islam and Catholocism, as a starting point, but also Buddhism and Hinduism, impose a set of regulations that must be followed and through the fulfillment of these regulations, a person can be accepted by God. This is the nature of religion. Do lots of good things and hope that you will one day be able to be accepted by God (or “gods” in the case of some of the religions) at the time of judgment.
But God has done something much greater, and is communicating something much greater, if we are willing to understand it. He has been saying that He has done the work already. We don’t need to continue to strive to reach Him. We don’t need to try to keep a law that is impossible to keep. We have already lost the battle. We are already imperfect, and without God’s mercy and grace, we will be judged for being spiritually dead before God as a result of our sin.
Jesus fulfilled the law. He did not sin…and he is the only One who has ever done that! But yet Jesus was punished as if He was a sinner because God placed all of humanity’s sin upon Him.
This is why Jesus is called our great High Priest. He was offered, and for that matter, offered Himself, as a sacrifice. And he continues today, sitting at the right hand of the Father, mediating on our behalf.