Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 12:18-24

“For you have not come to what could be touched, to a blazing fire, to darkness, gloom, and storm, to the blast of a trumpet, and the sound of words. Those who heard it begged that not another word be spoken to them, for they could not bear what was commanded: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.’ The appearance was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’ Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to a Judge, who is God of all, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which says better things than the blood of Abel.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

For twelve chapters now, and seven months, we have been joining the author of Hebrews on an explanation and exploration of why God’s new covenant in Christ is greater than the old covenant He made through Moses with the people of Israel. Here, just before his big lightning round finish, he sets the two covenants against each other one last time. This contrast, though, is different from all the rest. Let’s take a look at what he says here and what it means for us.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 9:15

“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.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 8:3-6

“For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; therefore, it was necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he wouldn’t be a priest, since there are those offering the gifts prescribed by the law. These serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was warned when he was about to complete the tabernacle. For God said, ‘Be careful that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.’ But Jesus has now obtained a superior ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been established on better promises.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There’s an old adage that says, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” The idea, of course, is that by copying something, you are making a statement as to the worth of the thing. Whatever else you think about it, you think it is worth making more of it. OF course, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you make a second version or an update of something because the first thing wasn’t perfect, and you wanted to make improvements in it. In the world of computer programming, the first version of something is called the “beta” version and is always intended to be replaced by the superior full version. When it comes to our relationship with God, the first covenant of Law was always intended to be replaced by the second covenant of grace. The new covenant is the main version, and the Law was the beta. This is something the author of Hebrews begins unpacking here and for the next little while. Let’s explore it with him.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 7:23-25

“Now many have become Levitical priests, since they are prevented by death from remaining in office. But because he remains forever, he holds his priesthood permanently. Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Nothing lasts forever. At least, that’s something the world teaches us. We learn it, though, less by direct teaching, and more by experience. I remember a whole variety of endings from over the course of my life: The passing, one by one, of my grandparents, my grade school principal’s retirement (before I went to junior high), the graduation of high school classes ahead of mine, the end of college, the end of seminary, the end of one ministry (which preceded the beginning of another, but still…), and so on and so forth. Everything ends. People end. How can we really trust in anything? Because some things do last forever. Specifically, Jesus does. Let’s talk this morning about why that matters.

Continue reading “Morning Musing: Hebrews 7:23-25”

Digging in Deeper: 2 Samuel 12:22-23

“He said, ‘While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, “Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.’”  (ESV – Read the chapter) ‬‬

This is the climax of one of the most emotional stories in the life of David. A good case can be made for this being one of the top five most emotional stories in the whole of the Hebrew Bible. When looking back at this verse and taking it through the lens of the New Covenant, many have seen this as a verse of great comfort. I’ve used it as such. But, the only way to experience that hope is to see it through that New Covenant lens. It’s a good reminder that Jesus has to be the interpretive framework we use for the Hebrew Bible. Anything else and it won’t do us any good. Read the rest…