“Jesus: His Superior Ministry” is part 5 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the previous parts by clicking one of the links below.
- Hebrews – Part 1: Jesus: God’s Ultimate Revelation
- Hebrews – Part 2: Jesus: Our Need for His Humanity
- Hebrews – Part 3: Jesus: The Danger of Unbelief
- Hebrews – Part 4: Jesus: The Great High Priest
Hebrews 8:1-6 (NASB)
1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest , who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens , 2 a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle , which the Lord pitched , not man . 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices ; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer . 4 Now if He were on earth , He would not be a priest at all , since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law ; 5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things , just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle ; for, “SEE ,” He says , “THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN .” 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
Heavenly Father, Creator of all that exists, open our eyes so that we may see the greatness of Jesus and His superiority over all things. We pray in His most holy name. Amen.
How is Christ’s new covenant ministry superior to that of the old covenant?
Christ’s new covenant ministry is superior to that of the old covenant, because of…
1. A Better Covenant
Inadequacy of the Old Covenant
Hebrews 8:7-9 (NASB)
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless , there would have been no occasion sought for a second . 8 For finding fault with them, He says , “BEHOLD , DAYS ARE COMING , SAYS THE LORD , WHEN I WILL EFFECT A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH ; 9 NOT LIKE THE COVENANT WHICH I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS ON THE DAY WHEN I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO LEAD THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; FOR THEY DID NOT CONTINUE IN MY COVENANT, AND I DID NOT CARE FOR THEM, SAYS THE LORD.
Adequacy of the New Covenant
Hebrews 8:10-13 (NASB)
10 “FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS , SAYS THE LORD : I WILL PUT MY LAWS INTO THEIR MINDS , AND I WILL WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS . AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD , AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE . 11 “AND THEY SHALL NOT TEACH EVERYONE HIS FELLOW CITIZEN , AND EVERYONE HIS BROTHER , SAYING , ‘KNOW THE LORD ,’ FOR ALL WILL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. 12 “FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES , AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE .” 13 When He said , “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.
2. A Better Sanctuary
Imperfection of the Earthly Sanctuary
Hebrews 9:1-10 (NASB)
1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary . 2 For there was a tabernacle prepared , the outer one , in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread ; this is called the holy place . 3 Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies , 4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold , in which was a golden jar holding the manna , and Aaron’s rod which budded , and the tables of the covenant ; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat ; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail . 6 Now when these things have been so prepared , the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship , 7 but into the second , only the high priest enters once a year , not without taking blood , which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance . 8 The Holy Spirit is signifying this , that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing , 9 which is a symbol for the present time . Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience , 10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.
Perfection of the Heavenly Sanctuary
Hebrews 9:11-12 (NASB)
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come , He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle , not made with hands , that is to say, not of this creation ; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
St. Cyril, an early church father, says in a few words the following, what others have employed whole volumes on by refining, spiritualizing, and allegorizing:
“Although Christ be but one, yet he is understood by us under a variety of forms. He is the Tabernacle, on account of the human body in which he dwelt. He is the Table, because he is our Bread of life. He is the Ark which has the law of God enclosed within, because he is the Word of the Father. He is the Candlestick, because he is our spiritual light. He is the Altar of incense, because he is the sweet-smelling odour of sanctification. He is the Altar of burnt-offering, because he is the victim, by death on the cross, for the sins of the whole world.”
3. A Better Sacrifice
Necessity of Shed Blood
Hebrews 9:13-22 (NASB)
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh , 14 how much more will the blood of Christ , who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God , cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God ? 15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant , so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant , those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance . 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead , for it is never in force while the one who made it lives . 18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood . 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law , he took the blood of the calves and the goats , with water and scarlet wool and hyssop , and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people , 20 saying , “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood . 22 And according to the Law , one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Purification of the Heavenly Sanctuary
Hebrews 9:23-28 (NASB)
23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these , but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these . 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands , a mere copy of the true one , but into heaven itself , now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often , as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own . 26 Otherwise , He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world ; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself . 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment , 28 so Christ also , having been offered once to bear the sins of many , will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
Permanence of the Sacrifice
- Inadequacy of the Levitical Sacrifices
Hebrews 10:1-9 (NASB)
1 For the Law , since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things , can never , by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year , make perfect those who draw near . 2 Otherwise , would they not have ceased to be offered , because the worshipers , having once been cleansed , would no longer have had consciousness of sins ? 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year . 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins . 5 Therefore , when He comes into the world , He says , “SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED , BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME; 6 IN WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE TAKEN NO PLEASURE . 7 “THEN I SAID , ‘BEHOLD , I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL , O GOD .’ ” 8 After saying above , “SACRIFICES AND OFFERINGS AND WHOLE BURNT OFFERINGS AND sacrifices FOR SIN YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED , NOR HAVE YOU TAKEN PLEASURE in them” (which are offered according to the Law ), 9 then He said, “BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second.
- Adequacy of Christ’s Sacrifice
Hebrews 10:10-18 (NASB)
10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all . 11 Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices , which can never take away sins ; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time , SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD , 13 waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET . 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified . 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying , 16 “THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS , SAYS THE LORD : I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART , AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says, 17 “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE .” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things , there is no longer any offering for sin.
Christ’s new covenant ministry is superior to that of the old covenant, because of:
- A better covenant
- Inadequacy of the old covenant
- Adequacy of the new covenant
- A better sanctuary
- Imperfection of the earthly sanctuary
- Perfection of the heavenly sanctuary
- A better sacrifice
- Necessity of shed blood
- Purification of the heavenly sanctuary
- Permanence of the sacrifice
- Inadequacy of the Levitical sacrifices
- Adequacy of Christ’s sacrifice
Heavenly Father, we thank You that You provided through Jesus, a far superior, perfect ministry, so that through His sufficiency, we could have life eternal. May we never lose sight of this fact. Thank You for loving us so much. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
“Jesus: His Superior Ministry” is part 5 of a 10-part study on the Book of Hebrews. You may view any of the following parts by clicking one of the links below.
- Hebrews – Part 6: Enter the New Sanctuary
- Hebrews – Part 7: Confidently Endure Persecution
- Hebrews – Part 8: What Is Faith?
- Hebrews – Part 9: Endure Chastening
- Hebrews – Part 10: Christian Living: Life of Love
Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:
James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.
John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
- To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
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1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19 "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
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Praise the Lord.
- In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:
Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.
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James 5:16 (NASB)
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
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