Bible 4 Today: Hebrews 8 – Jesus the “Game Changer”


HEBREWS 8 [The Message]

bible4today6-13 But Jesus’ priestly work far surpasses what these other priests do, since he’s working from a far better plan. If the first plan—the old covenant—had worked out, a second wouldn’t have been needed. But we know the first was found wanting, because God said,

Heads up! The days are coming
    when I’ll set up a new plan
    for dealing with Israel and Judah.
I’ll throw out the old plan
    I set up with their ancestors
    when I led them by the hand out of Egypt.
They didn’t keep their part of the bargain,
    so I looked away and let it go.
This new plan I’m making with Israel
    isn’t going to be written on paper,
    isn’t going to be chiseled in stone;
This time I’m writing out the plan in them,
    carving it on the lining of their hearts.
I’ll be their God,
    they’ll be my people.
They won’t go to school to learn about me,
    or buy a book called God in Five Easy Lessons.
They’ll all get to know me firsthand,
    the little and the big, the small and the great.
They’ll get to know me by being kindly forgiven,
    with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.

By coming up with a new plan, a new covenant between God and his people, God put the old plan on the shelf. And there it stays, gathering dust.

Lori and I spent time together this morning, sharing breakfast, scrambled eggs and coffee. They we read the Scriptures and celebrated Holy Eucharist together, and prayed, and listened to Paul Baloche singing “The Prayer of Jabez”.

1 CHRONICLES 4 [The Message]

1chron4-10_jabez9-10 Jabez was a better man than his brothers, a man of honor. His mother had named him Jabez (Oh, the pain!), saying, “A painful birth! I bore him in great pain!” Jabez prayed to the God of Israel: “Bless me, O bless me! Give me land, large tracts of land. And provide your personal protection—don’t let evil hurt me.” God gave him what he asked.

Thoughts on the Morning Scripture Today

Heb_8_1_13It was a good reminder this morning as the words of Hebrews 8 washed over my spirit and mind, to reflect and meditate upon the reality and finality of the finished work of the cross that Jesus completed on behalf of humankind.  The work of redemption was completed for us by the only One worthy to be both the sacrifice and the High Priest offering the sacrifice on the behalf of the intended party.  We were and we are the intended party for whom Christ has perfectly completed the sacrifice and atoned and covered and obliterated the effects of the radical fall of the human species.  It took this radical act of loving self-sacrifice and obedience to the point of death, for our redemption to be “signed, sealed, and delivered.”

The Greater Covenant Through Christ Jesus

hebrews8_6Paul in verse 6 says, “But Jesus’ priestly work far surpasses what these other priests do, since he’s working from a far better plan.”  The supremacy and totality and completeness of the finished work of Jesus is so extensive because it was rooted in and resting on a “better plan”.  This plan was a Divine plan enacted by God for us. God took matters into His own hands. It took Perfection in bodily form to bring about the “perfect sacrifice”.  In verse 7, Paul states plainly why it had to be so. He says of that plan, “If the first plan – the old covenant – had worked out, a second wouldn’t have been needed.”

satanseesin-godseesonPaul demonstrates in the redemptive history of Israel how the old covenant had not worked out very well (verses 8 and 9), as the people of Israel had not remained faithful to the covenant made at Mount Sinai.  I was reminded in the words recorded here, that God is loving and merciful and will let us have our own way.  God does give us the desires of our hearts, even the painful ones that reject Him and goodness and mercy.  God’s own words in very 9 I personally find haunting, “…and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord” [ESV].

hebrews8-12What struck me this morning, while reflecting upon these words in verses 10 on through to 13, is the incredible grace of God, and His love and mercy, in what Jesus accomplished for you and I.  The depth of grace and mercy is beyond description.  Words fail.  I cannot scratch the surface of what it is.  It is at one level completely shocking to the senses and human understanding.

finished-work_t_nv1My mind cannot fathom or plumb the depths of the heart and passion of God to act in this way toward humankind.  To reach out over time and space, in that one redemptive act on the cross on that hill outside Jerusalem, on Golgotha, a place of public display and shame for convicted prisoners, of a region of the world governed by the steel grip of the Roman legions and its empire, the foreign administration of occupation of the land of Judea, and to complete in that one act, the redemption of the world.  As the Jewish High Priest at the time said, as it is recorded in John 11 [ESV]:

49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.

one4manyMy minds is overcome by those words spoken by a man who did not have a clue as to what he was actually speaking “…it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”   To see and begin to comprehend how this act of the rejection of Jesus by His own people was the defining redemptive act of not only this nation, but the entire world, as the writer, John continued, “…and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”  So here today, I am one of those who were “scattered abroad”, across the sands of time, to this generation, to this day, and it is through that loving action of Jesus Christ, that I am part of the “family of God,” as are you.

Take this truth in.  Take a deep breath in, hold it, and gently exhale, and meditate on that truth.  You, who was scattered abroad, was so loved by God, that before you were ever conceived, in eternity past, God made a way for you to be brought into His family… through that one redemptive act of Jesus.

The Plan of God that Includes All Humankind

HEBREWS 8 [The Message]

The Finished Work of Christ - Photo 12-21-08This new plan I’m making with Israel
    isn’t going to be written on paper,
    isn’t going to be chiseled in stone;
This time I’m writing out the plan in them,
    carving it on the lining of their hearts.
I’ll be their God,
    they’ll be my people.
They won’t go to school to learn about me,
    or buy a book called God in Five Easy Lessons.
They’ll all get to know me firsthand,
    the little and the big, the small and the great.
They’ll get to know me by being kindly forgiven,
    with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.

By coming up with a new plan, a new covenant between God and his people, God put the old plan on the shelf. And there it stays, gathering dust.

hebrews8_12_13God Himself said He would write out “the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts.”  So, nothing written on stone, no legal conditions and reinterpretations of law keeping observances or demands.  The Jewish people themselves proved they could not keep them anyway. The law had become a burden to them and too heavy to bear. It was the legal system that had separated the people of Israel from their God.  The legal system had instituted a sin management system that reduced what was supposed to be a relationship founded on love, to one of law keeping observances, which made the relationship difficult and strained through the evolution of the priestly class and the Pharisees and Sadducees and Sanhedrin (Council composed of Pharisees and Sadducees that ruled Palestine.  The Sanhedrin used their religion to control and manipulate the people and speak for God, in His stead.   So here we have God revealing that through Jesus, He was establishing direct relationship, with no other mediator between God and man other than Jesus.

The Divine Game Changer

I-Timothy-2-5-800x600Paul says, “I’ll be their God,  they’ll be my people… They’ll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great. They’ll get to know me by being kindly forgiven,  with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean. [vv-10b-12] The promise of God that He will be their God and that they, the people would His people, has been a constant theme throughout redemptive history, but this promises reaches fulfillment in the obedience of the one man, Christ Jesus, and His atoning sacrifice that makes this possibility a reality.  In this redemption this is a “game changer”, and that game changer is that God enables all humankind to know Him relationally, “first hand”, and that all people, those of significance and those of no reputation, they will all get to know this first hand experientially.  They will see, know and receive forgiveness and their sins blotted out forever, a clean slate. This is a “game changer” that removes the “coercive use of religious manipulation” out of the hands of the “professional priesthood class” and puts the opportunity and responsibility in the hands of each and every image bearer of God, every person of humanity, has direct access to God through Jesus Christ. No other go-between or intermediary required. Everyone is plugged into direct connection to God.

The Extent of the Game Changer

hebrews (1)Paul concludes chapter 8 with verse 13, “By coming up with a new plan, a new covenant between God and his people, God put the old plan on the shelf. And there it stays, gathering dust.” Paul places the origin and the follow through on this plan, in the very heart and mind and hands of God.  This is a “new” covenant that surpasses the old covenant of works, and this covenant is a Divine arrangement directly between the two affected parties with only One mediator, Jesus Christ.  It is through Jesus Christ that there is not only the possibility of reconciliation between God and humankind, and is an actual reality, and not a mere possibility.  All it takes for people to be awakened to the finished work of Christ and to receive it by faith.  It is already a “done deal”.  It is complete. God’s heart is open and the gate of Heave is never closed.  People are free to access the grace and mercy of God through Christ Jesus.  The “old plan” is where it belongs… on the shelf “gathering dust”.  You have no need to dust off the plan. Embrace the “new plan” of God!

As Paul said in 1 TIMOTHY 2 [The Message]

1mediator4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.

I am so thankful that through Jesus, it is all a done deal.  Jesus has it all covered. Jesus plus nothing is everything.  Jesus is more than enough.  I am complete in Christ.  You are covered and you have a place in God.  Jump in and receive it. It is yours. I am eternally in the grip of Jesus.

Awaken to your place in God’s heart.

~ Sam

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About Sam Buick

A lover and disciple of Jesus Christ. Married to my best friend, Lori-Anne. Father to 3 incredible daughters, Carragh, Caitlin and Erinn, and sons-in-law Alex, and Stephen Davis. An avid reader, a Droid user, a Mac addict, a lover of footy ball and football (there is a difference), and hockey. Once a soldier. Once a youth worker. Once an ordained minister. Once a claims adjuster. Once a charismatic, now a pacifist. A disciple of Christ, Gospel of grace proclaimer, pursuing union with Christ. There is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ. Jesus unites, dogma divides.
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