Concerning the coming of the new covenant that we read about in Hebrews today, I often hear the questions: What is wrong with the old covenant? Did God give His people something that was not complete or perfect? Why was there a need to make another covenant?
I like to think about it in terms of dating and marriage. When I was a little girl, I looked forward to having a boyfriend, someone with whom I could do fun things and be known and loved. That day came when my phone rang and a cute boy asked me to dinner, which turned into 4 and 1/2 years of fun adventures as we got to know one another and experienced the joys of life together before we decided to get married. Although dating was good and right, it could not stay that way forever because there was something better to come.
The old covenant is much like dating. Dating is good and important, but the whole point of dating is to lead to a marriage covenant. And the whole point of the old covenant was to lead to the new one anchored in the work of our High Priest, the One who became the ultimate sacrifice on the cross for us. The old was good, but the new is much better.
With the new covenant came a shift in the priesthood. Instead of the priests offering daily sacrifices to cover sins, Christ provided a sacrifice once and for all. Priests no longer needed to go before God on behalf of the people, as they did in the Old Testament, because we are the new priesthood (I Peter 2:5). We can now go before our God on our own and with confidence. And, just like the old priesthood, we are still to call others to worship, to encourage those in our flock, and to pray for them as we bring them before the throne of grace. God did not give His people a faulty covenant, but instead He took a good covenant and made it even better.
Ponder: Reflect back on the week’s readings about the priesthood. What stood out to you about the Old Testament priesthood’s calling and role among the people? How did Christ’s coming become the better covenant and priesthood? What does it look like for you to exercise your gift of priesthood under the new covenant?
Pray: Father, You are a good God who does good for Your people. From the beginning, I see Your love and care for Your people through the gift of the old covenant meant to point them to You and to allow You to dwell with them. I thank You and praise You for the new and better covenant that You have given us in Jesus and the privilege that we can directly come before Your throne of grace with confidence. Amen.
— Jamie Harms