Written by the fantastic Sarah Long. Sarah works for the Diocese of Winchester as Youth Adviser having previously worked for Romance Academy and as a Youth Worker in Camberley. Follow her on Twitter at @snailsarah
Read – Hebrews 8
I was late to the smart phone game – I’d used my old brick of a phone for as long as I could but finally reached a point where I just couldn’t deny the need for a change. In the end I bought my first smart phone – entering the world of on the go emails and constant accessibility. I’d bought it after reading loads of reviews, looking for the best ‘functionality to cost’ ratio, and finally settling for the one I thought would be the best. It worked for a few years. But after a while I discovered the battery was clunky and unreliable, it kept freezing and every now and then it wiped all my data.
At last, the contract was up, and I walked back into the phone store to obtain that joyous thing – an upgrade. Not long afterwards I emerged again with a newer, faster, shinier, more effective, more efficient phone.
Today’s passage is, loosely speaking, about an upgrade to a newer, better, more perfect system – but this time it’s a ‘covenant’ (agreement) and relationship between God and his people.
If the first covenant had been faultless, you see, there wouldn’t have been any reason to look for a second one. Hebrews 8:7
The Old Agreement (Covenant) is the one we find in the Old Testament, one between God and Israel, linked to the Ten Commandments and a system of priests and rituals. It’s how, by doing the right things, Israel could be in relationship with the one, perfect God. Much like my first phone, it was pretty good, it did a reasonable job. But it could be better.
The New Agreement (Covenant) came when Jesus came to live among us, to die for our sins and to reunite us to God. It’s how, because Jesus did the right things, all of us can be in relationship with the one, perfect God. It’s better, more effective, more efficient – in fact it’s perfect.
This is the system that’s never going to need an upgrade again, one that will never malfunction or let us down.
Now, you see, Jesus has obtained a vastly superior ministry. In the same way, he is the mediator of a better covenant, which is established on better promises. – Hebrews 8:7
If you feel like your relationship with God is dependent on you being good enough to get his attention, the new covenant is for you. If you feel like God is distant, unreachable and far away, the new covenant is for you. If you feel like every time you try to be a good Christian, it all goes wrong and you make a mess, this new covenant is for you.
The new covenant doesn’t depend on you being good enough, on you making amends, on you doing the work.
The new covenant depends on Jesus being good enough, on Jesus having made amends, on Jesus having done the work.
The new covenant is infinitely better, because Jesus is infinitely better.
This is an upgrade from the imperfect, to the perfect. And guess what, it costs you nothing at all – Jesus paid.
God, thank you so much that we can live in a new covenant with you, one where Jesus has done everything, and welcomes us in with open arms. Where we don’t understand this or find it hard to get our head around, please help us to understand more clearly. Please provide us with people to discuss our questions with. Thank you that you would do so much for us.