Scripture: Hebrews 8.6
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.
Reflection: New And Improved
By Jon Polk
The Old Covenant, the Law delivered through Moses, was a covenant of works, a legal contract. Do these things. Observe this rule. Act this way. Don’t act that way. It was full of ritual, hard to understand, and even harder to keep.
There’s the problem. And it is a problem. In fact, if there wasn’t a problem with the Old Covenant, then there would have been no need for a new one.
The people of Israel did not and could not keep the Old Covenant. Because they did not remain faithful to the covenant, God turned away from them. The Old Covenant served to highlight the unfortunate truth that no one is righteous, not even one.
Except for Jesus, the only righteous one. The Son of God, our great High Priest, has mediated for us a New Covenant, a better covenant, with God. This New Covenant is a covenant of grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
The content of the New Covenant, quoted from Jeremiah 31, reads more like marriage vows than a legal document.
Do you, God, promise to put your laws in the people’s minds? I will.
Do you, God, promise to write your laws on their hearts? I will.
Do you, God, promise to be the God of your people? I will.
Do you, God, promise that your people will be yours? I will.
Where God once wrote his laws to his people on stone, God will now write a new law in his people, in minds and hearts of flesh. This law written in us stirs us to obedience because it is inscribed on the deepest parts of our being: our mind where we reason, remember and reflect and our heart where we love, hope and give thanks. This is the soil in which God’s new law of grace and forgiveness takes root.
Where God had once turned away from his people because they were unfaithful, God now promises that he will be their God and they will be his people once again. This New Covenant is not dependent on our faithfulness, but rather on God’s faithfulness.
The New Covenant has made the old one obsolete. In his classic commentary, Matthew Henry declares, “It is antiquated, canceled, out of date, of no more use in gospel times than candles are when the sun has risen.”
Sisters and brothers, thanks be to God that we have this New Covenant because the Son has indeed risen.
The Call to Prayer
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. — Isaiah 1.18
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Full prayer available online and in print.
1 Chronicles 1-2 (Listen – 11:18)
Hebrews 8 (Listen – 2:22)