A Child's Lenten Meditation Day 37-New Covenant-Power to change

 18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. 20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: 'You are a priest forever.' " 22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. 23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 Such a high priest truly meets our need--one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. 
Hebrews 8

The High Priest of a New Covenant  
1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. 3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. 7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8 But God found fault with the people and said: "The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 9 It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. 10 This is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 11 No longer will they teach their neighbors, or say to one another, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. 12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." 13 By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Remember when we read about this promise? Remember how God said he would have to make a new covenant (that means an agreement and a promise) with the people and put his laws in their minds and write them on their hearts? Remember the promise to forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more?

We wondered how that would happen.

The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus on the cross made it happen as both the sacrifice and the high priest.

He had no sin, so he didn't need to do what other high priests did and make sacrifices first for his own sins. Instead he offered himself as the perfect sacrifice.

What did that do exactly? Do you understand it?

The old agreement, or covenant, between God and the children of Israel after he led them out of Egypt, with the sacrifices and the tabernacle, was a way to teach Israel. It was a way to help them see and experience God's forgiveness. But the sacrifices for atonement, when they placed the guilt of the people for breaking the agreement with God on a goat and killed it in the place of guilty people, weren't perfect, and they needed to be done again, year after year after year, because the people were still the same. They still did not do good out of what was in their hearts.The sacrifices and the priests could not make the people good, they could only show them what their hearts were really like.

Jesus changed all that. Jesus made it so that God's spirit could get back into people. Without it, people could never be as God designed them to be. (The proof of the spirit coming to people happens at the feast of Pentecost, which is later in the story.)

Jesus was not only the perfect sacrifice and atonement for sin, but he did something much more important than that as well.

He set us free!

Just like God set Israel free from slavery in Egypt .

Before we were slaves to sin and death. His sacrifice freed us, and now we have his power to live righteously. He put himself in our place, and then defeated the forces that made us slaves in the first place. If we weren't set free we couldn't hope to keep the covenant. God had to replace the old covenant that he made with Israel when he brought them out of Egypt in order to keep his promise to Abraham, the original covenant.

We just read about how Jesus the night he was betrayed said, "28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

Jesus is talking about his sacrifice, how his blood will be the marker of the new covenant, just as God took upon himself, in his own body, the burden of fulfilling the first covenant with Abraham.

We now have Jesus living in us and we are able to keep this new covenant by agreeing with his power in us, rather than just trying to do it by ourselves. Jesus did it perfectly, so we just have to agree with him.

That's way better than the old covenant, don't you think?

Have you ever tried to keep a promise on your own? What happened when you asked Jesus to help you.



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