From now until Christmas, we’ll take a look at what the Advent of Christ has brought man. This will be a deep dive into the power and beauty of the gospel that we may fall more deeply in love with God.
“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.”
~ Hebrews 8:1-7
A heavy theme throughout the book of Hebrews is seeing Jesus as the “greater and better than.” Hebrews is written to a largely Jewish audience and seeks to show the supremacy of Christ in all things. In this chapter we see Christ as the great high priest, tabernacle and mediator.
In day 5 of this Advent study we saw the promise of the a intimate relationship between God and man from Jeremiah 31. This promise is one in which God has taken up the the responsibility to fulfill. It is a chapter that is full of God declaring “I will.” He takes all the action – and the glory – to buy His bride back.
Here in Hebrews 8 we see how Christ has done exactly that. God uses the Old Testament picture of God’s presence with His people – the priests, tabernacle and covenants – to again show that Jesus is the greater and better. These OT “copies and shadows” were just lesser pictures of what was to come in Jesus.
“These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” ~ Colossians 2:17
First, we see that Christ is the greater and better high priest. Jesus is not a high priest for how He carries out God’s purposes towards man, but it is how He acts toward God and before God on our behalf. He communicates all good things from God to us and to plead for us on our behalf. As priests would offer constant sacrifice on behalf of the people for forgiveness of sins, Jesus offers Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins.
Second, we see Jesus as the greater and better tent or tabernacle. The old tent was pledge that God would be present and near with His people. Because of Jesus, we have a nearness that means having the Holy Spirit not just near us but in us. Jesus becomes the means by which God is with us and in us.
Lastly, Jesus is seen as the greater and better mediator of a greater and better covenant. Now there is no need for the blood of bulls and goats for forgiveness of sins. The blood of the spotless Lamb was shed in Christ. As Old Testament sacrifices were offered repeatedly, Christ died once for sins and then ascended to the right hand of the Father. Christ came to bring a better covenant with a unmistakably rich inheritance for all who trust in Him.
Take time to thank God for Christ being the greater and better. He’s our mediator, our seal of God presence in us and our promise of the glory to come.