September 29, 2020

Better Forever

Hebrews 8

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Jesus, High Priest of a Better Covenant

Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent1 that the Lord set up, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” But as it is, Christ2 has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

For he finds fault with them when he says:3

  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
    and with the house of Judah,
  not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
    on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
  For they did not continue in my covenant,
    and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10   For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
    after those days, declares the Lord:
  I will put my laws into their minds,
    and write them on their hearts,
  and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
11   And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
    and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
  for they shall all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.
12   For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
    and I will remember their sins no more.”

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.


[1] 8:2 Or tabernacle; also verse 5
[2] 8:6 Greek he
[3] 8:8 Some manuscripts For finding fault with it he says to them

Better Forever

Key Verse | Hebrews 8:1-2

Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.

Bio | Shannon Laurence

On Sunday mornings, you can find me hanging out with a class of sweet Watermark preschoolers in Starting Blocks! I also meet with the amazing girls in my community group who have become my best friends. The relationships God can form through intentionally living life together and sharing our highs and lows are so special. During the week, I get to work with children at a clinic as a speech-language pathologist. You might also find me on a dance floor busting out some country western moves! And if you need any inspiring podcast recommendations, I'm your girl!

Central Truth

Instead of priests working under the old covenant to continually bear the burden of people's sins, our perfect High Priest, Jesus, bore our burden through His death and resurrection. He enabled us to live under a new covenant that provides us assurance of our salvation and continual access to Him.

Devotional | Hebrews 8

Have you ever been to Petco, or maybe your third-grade teacher's classroom, and observed a hamster on its wheel? Those critters are quick! It might be fun to watch a cute fur ball with tiny legs exert all its...

Have you ever been to Petco, or maybe your third-grade teacher's classroom, and observed a hamster on its wheel? Those critters are quick! It might be fun to watch a cute fur ball with tiny legs exert all its effort to stay in the same spot, but it isn't so fun when we feel we're on the "hamster wheel" of life.

Sometimes it seems like we're spinning and not making gains with the direction of our jobs, relationships, or goals. That can be really tiring, but imagine how much more tiring it may have felt for God's people under the old covenant and priesthood! Their fellowship with God was at stake, and it depended on the faith and diligence of humans to continually offer sacrifices to atone for their waywardness. The people's sacrifices and the priests' job of presenting them were never finished!

But one day, God in the flesh came to dwell among us and change that forever. Jesus, the Promised One, turned the world upside down by providing rescue from the repetition.

In Hebrews 7 yesterday, we read how Jesus is the better priest who put an end to the repetitive cycle of human priests who intervened for the people. Today in chapter 8, we see that Jesus provides the better covenant. Through His death, resurrection, and divine power, He did away with the old and made a new covenant not based on our ability to be faithful to Him but rather on His perfect ability to be faithful to us.

God brought His people from striving to peace, uncertainty to assurance, burdened to freed. He brought a better ministry, better covenant, and better promises, as Hebrews 8:6 in today's passage tells us. What Jesus brings us is infinitely better, and it provides life!

We can rest assured that if we "profess and believe" in what Jesus did for us (Romans 10:9-10), we will have eternal life. Praise Him today that we have "such a high priest" (Hebrews 8:1) who is the real deal, not just a shadow but a superior mediator who "will remember [our] sins no more" (Hebrews 8:12).

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Discussion Questions

1. Is there an area of life you feel you are striving in and getting nowhere? What is that? Go to God about the issue and let the promises of Scripture remind you of His faithfulness. If you have believed that Jesus provided the one and only sacrifice necessary for the atonement of your—and all—sins, then His promises of eternal life, abundant life, and infinite forgiveness are yours!

2. Listen to the song, "We Draw Near (Hebrews)" by Caroline Cobb (you can find it on YouTube, Spotify, or other sources). What new thoughts or encouragement about the message of Hebrews come to your mind as you listen?

3. What is another way that you can creatively express or experience the message of Hebrews or other Scripture passages you read? Maybe painting a picture, handwriting some key verses, or having your kids act out a scene? Give it a try sometime!

5 Comments available

Michael Scaman about 7 hours ago

This covenant is “not like” the covenant made in Egypt they did not keep. In Hosea 10:9, God tells Israel they ‘sinned since Gibeah’ which is their whole history. Not so in the New covenant where a new heart is given.

A verse from a nearby chapter emphasizes in the New Covenant God says

Jer 32:38 -40 God will give them one heart (something given sounds like a new creation, a new heart) They will never turn away (sounds like perseverance of the saints) I wil never turn from doing them good (sounds like Romans 8:28)

Jer 32:40 says (in the New covenant) God will never turn from doing you good and you will never turn from following him

Greg Jones about 7 hours ago

I’m not sure how followers of Jesus who heard his teaching first hand would have reacted to Hebrews, or those taught by the disciples, including Paul, either.

“But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”(Mark1:44)

“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”(1Peter2:5)

Paul-“In view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.(Romans12:1)

Earliest Christianity is still Jewish worship for Jewish followers. For non-Jewish worshipers it is the worship of the God of Israel. There can no longer be sacrifice/worship to the native god for them.

Hebrews is encouraging for post temple Christians/Jews. It encourages a first step forward.

Sue Bohlin about 8 hours ago

Excellent devo, Shannon!

This chapter starts out telling us that the ultimate and final high priest, Jesus, is seated at the right hand of the Father. That’s a small but SUPER significant detail because the OT tabernacle and then temple had several pieces of furniture, but no chair for the priests. Their work was never done. The “no-chair-ness” was a very subtle signpost pointing to the ultimate High Priest whose work would conclude with the phenomenal words, “It is finished.” And then He would seat Himself in heaven.

So many God-truths are only seen in the rear-view mirror, and we can never see the full picture of what He’s doing in the midst of His working. Things that don’t make sense to us now (like, “Why no chair in the Holy Place?”) WILL make sense later when we see the whole picture.

So we need to exercise our trust muscles.

Hugh Stephenson about 10 hours ago

I’m reflecting today on the difference between God’s timeline and mine.

Verses 10b-12 contain among the most amazing promises in the Bible.

Jeremiah sounds (to me) like this New Covenant is coming as soon as the waitress refills my coffee. Yet, it was centuries later.

I contrast my impatience with God versus with His patience with me; I want Him to act now or at least soon. Yet, He was patience with me during decades of sin and rebellion, (2 Peter 3:9).

In sanctification, I have more fully embraced God’s timeline as I let go of mine. Very, very tough at first. As I have come to know Him more fully through His Word, His Spirit and His people - patience has become more natural.

In my daily gratitude prayers I always list “God’s patirence”. I link it with His mercy and His grace.

Hugh Stephenson about 10 hours ago

From Constable -

“God promised that the New Covenant would enable the Israelites to do four things.

They would know and desire to do God’s will (v. 10b), enjoy a privileged, unique relationship with God (v. 10c), know God directly (v. 11), and experience permanent forgiveness of their sins (v. 12).

These are the “better [i.e., unconditional] promises” the writer referred to earlier (v. 6).”

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