If Hebrews can be boiled down to the “superiority of Jesus”, then we could be done by chapter 8. As it is, there are five more chapters after that, including the famous “Role Call of Faith” in chapter 11. So, while that is what much of Hebrews is about, there’s more to come, like, “What do we do with the knowledge of Jesus’ superiority?”
Yet, in chapter 8 we find a remarkable statement, “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.” (Hebrews 8:1-2 NASB) The main point, so far? Or the main point of the whole book?
There is some debate over whether the “main point” means the “central topic” or a “summary statement”. Regardless, as we progress through this first bit of chapter 8, we run into verse 6: “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6 NASB)
This is another of those statements we can zip right by without spending any time thinking through. But, seriously, think that through: Jesus has obtained a “more excellent ministry”; a ministry as more excellent as the covenant He mediates is “more excellent” than the previous covenant, a covenant based on more excellent promises.
So, we have a more excellent ministry, more excellent covenant, and more excellent promises. Ministry is a term referring to temple practice, or cultic practice. That is not to say that Jesus’ “ministry” looks like the priests practice in the Jerusalem temple. It’s different, and more excellent, superior to theirs, and it doesn’t require continual sacrifice of the blood of animals.
The covenant Jesus mediates is more excellent than the covenant mediated by the blood sacrifice of animals. And that is not to say that now Jesus offers Himself up continually as He makes intercession for us. He offered Himself once, for all, and for all time. His intercession is from where He is seated at the right hand of the Majesty. He can’t get any closer to the Father than He is.
The promises on which His covenant are based go back to the initial agreement God made with His human creatures. Jesus’ covenant restores the relationship lost in the Garden. The law never promises that. It alludes to it in the decorations of the temple, but it never promises it. At no time can everyone come into the presence of God through the law. Yet through Jesus, we all approach the throne of Jesus, and do so with confidence.
We have a better Intercessor, who mediates a covenant based His once-for-all self-sacrifice, which carries the promise of the restoration of the relationship we lost with our Creator in the Garden of Eden. So, the question is, “Do you want to walk with your Creator in His garden in the cool of the day?” Well, do you? I mean, who doesn’t?
Where are we headed? What is the point of all this mess here on earth? Why choose to believe this faith? Because this faith restores the purpose of the Creator of the universe when He made human beings. We become restored to the relationship we had with Him before a tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Jesus’ superiority has, as its core importance, the promise of eternal life with our Creator. That is the rest which the people failed to achieve, but we can. The rest of our Creator, on the seventh day, a Sabbath of our Creator, is the “promise” offered. This is the promise mediated, or “offered” by our Intercessor, Jesus, the Son of God, Yahweh, El-Elyon, our Savior. Do you see the central importance in this simple verse? Did you see it before?
Jesus mediates a better covenant through His intercession for you, so that you might obtain the promise of the eternal presence of your Creator. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the “Good News”, in a nutshell. The central theme of all Scripture is found in this tiny verse. It is the gospel in single sentence. You simply have to “look under the hood”. How often does that happen? Actually, a lot. You simply have to “look under the hood” more often.
So, what’s your view through your knothole this afternoon?
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation