17 October 2020Hebrews 8:6-13
But Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant (v.6)
As we bring together the mystery of God revealed through ordinary frail flesh and also exalted above the heavens, we come to this claim – here is a more excellent ministry, a better covenant. A promise requires provenance; the one who makes the promise needs a track record of being able to keep a promise, and a willingness to do so. This needs the evidence of time and place; of history. Hebrews sets out the provenance of God and claims that God’s story demonstrates time and again the desire to heal and save and God’s power to do this. In this way we are invited to see the historical moment of Jesus as not only the confirmation of those ancient promises, but as a refreshed and renewed expression of them. Here is a new ministry that is both grounded in the ordinary everyday struggles of human beings and tested, tempted and tried. The mystery of ‘our God contracted to a span’ is made flesh and blood.
This fulfils the whole dynamic of the ancient story, which is obsolete not because it is rubbish, but because it is renewed in Christ. What is more, we, who joyfully accept this ‘new deal’ with God, will in a way inherit the extraordinary revelation of Christ in our own hearts. More than intellect and feeling, more than experience or understanding, we will ‘know the Lord’. This ‘knowing’ gathers together all the ways humans know God, from how a farmer knows the seasons to how a physicist knows quantum science. What drives this excellent ministry and shapes this better covenant is love – ‘pure universal love’. God’s ancient love song to the creation is expressed now in forgiveness and acceptance. Our invitation is to share this ‘more excellent way’ of Paul’s hymn to love in 1 Corinthians 13.
- How do you think of Jesus?
- How does this shape your understanding of God?