“Therefore, [Christ] is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance, because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Buying a house is complicated. It shouldn’t be. It should be a simple matter of two people agreeing to the exchange and that’s that. But because houses are so unbelievably expensive, nearly everyone has to borrow a lot of money to make the purchase. Lending companies want a lot of guarantees they’ll get their money back. Also, the federal government at some point inserted itself into the process which always makes everything more complicated. The result – as perhaps you have experienced – is that buying a house requires knowledge of dozens of laws and regulations and culminates in a process that takes multiple hours, multiple attorneys, and dozens of signatures on hundreds of pages of documents. It’s crazy. And you really can’t do it yourself. I mean, yes, legally you can, but if you don’t want a huge extra headache, you need a representative. Making a new covenant with God isn’t quite such a complicated process, but you do need a representative for that as well. We have that in Christ. Let’s talk about it.
The idea of having a representative for one person to another goes back a long, long time. And the situations in which a representative has been needed or desired have varied quite widely. For instance, some people of sufficient cultural or political importance have hired representatives because of a prideful belief that some interactions are beneath them. The representative allows them to focus on the things they want to focus on while still having other tasks that really do need accomplishing taken care of. In the legal world, having a representative has long been a must because the law is complicated, and most people don’t have the time to give understanding it the attention that it requires in order to secure the outcome they desire. In the world of politics (at least, in the world of representative government politics) an elected representative is intended to advocate for the interests of a much larger group of people who could not effectively function in the political sphere if they all represented their own interests individually.
In spite of this kind of variance in the reasons a representative is needed or desired, though, there is one point of broad commonality among them. In each instance, the representative either knows more or is simply better situated to obtain some desired end than the person being represented. The reasons for that once again are going to vary, but the base fact remains unchanged. We need representation in a given situation because that person is more likely to obtain for us the end we are pursuing than if we pursued it on our own.
Before Jesus came, we needed a new way of interacting with God. The old way of the Law was failing. It had been failing for a long time. The author of Hebrews has pointed out several of the ways in which it was failing over the course of the middle part of the letter. As we have said, these growing failures didn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile in the first place. It was. But it was never intended to be a permanent solution to the problem of our separation from God because of sin. It was never intended to be permanent and after being in place for some 2,000 years, the cracks were really beginning to show.
The trouble was, though, we were not going to be able to work out this new way of interacting with God on our own. For starters, to even gain access to His presence we needed to be without sin. That was a mark we were in no ways in a position to achieve by ourselves. The sacrificial system only ever gained us a covering, not real forgiveness. Plus, we were not capable of imagining what a new covenant would look like. All we knew was the Law. And by the time Jesus arrived on the scene, we had taken the original Law God gave through Moses and added more layers of complexities onto it than anyone could really track. If we tried to write out some new way of getting to God (granting that we didn’t even very well understand we needed a new way), we would have created a hopelessly complex system that worked for a few, but not nearly for everyone. It would have been a system designed to work for the system designers and those they favored. That’s not what we needed.
Then came Jesus.
Jesus came and lived a life that allowed Him direct access to the Father. There was no sin standing in the way. He also came with the wisdom and love and justice of the Father. He understood the kind of covenant we needed. He grasped how simple it needed to be in order for everyone to be able to access it. He saw the depth of sin that would have to be removed as well as the kind of sacrifice it would take to remove it. He was willing to do what it would take to set the thing in motion. In short, Jesus was the representative we needed. And because He was willing to serve in this capacity, we have the new way of relating to God we always needed.
There’s just one catch. We have to be willing to let Him be our representative in order to gain access to this new covenant. We couldn’t make it on our own and because of that we can’t enter it on our own. He is the only pathway into it. But the doors to this pathway are open wide and Jesus is standing at the entrance giving everyone who comes His way a hearty and glad welcome. You can get to God. You can get into a right relationship with God. You can get into a right relationship with God that will not end. Ever. You just have to go through Jesus. I hope you will. You will be glad you did.