The Old Testament sacrificial system points to what is wrong with sin. The New Testament sacrifice of Jesus remedies the problem of sin. The book of Hebrews brings the Old Testament and New Testament together in the person of Jesus Christ. In Hebrews, some Jewish believers were confused about Christ’s ministry. They thought of Christ as the “enforcer” of Moses’ law. But Christ is his own lawgiver. Christ did not minimize the old covenant. Rather, He honored the old covenant by fulfilling it! The old covenant was merely pointing to something greater.
Use the following guide to prepare for Sunday. Onward!
Monday’s Passage to Read: Read Hebrews 9:11-28. The new covenant opens a better tabernacle. In this new covenant, Christ is our priest. In the Old Testament, priests had to offer sacrifices again and again. But Jesus offers one sacrifice once for all. With Jesus’ sacrifice, the old sacrificial system was fulfilled—no more bulls and goats. Now we look to the cross for the forgiveness of sins.
Tuesday’s Devotional Thought: The term “better” appears thirteen times in Hebrews. Christ is the central figure, and the writer of Hebrews demonstrates how Jesus is greater and better than anything else. The book was written for Jewish Christians who had stalled in their faith. They were drifting from God’s truth.
You must keep paddling to stay on course when you are in a kayak. Stop paddling, and you will drift. When you stall spiritually, you drift in two ways—away from sound doctrine and away from hard work. To stay on course, you must paddle. And keep paddling. There is always a current. You will not drift towards good theology by happenstance. And if you’re not paddling, you’re not working and doing ministry. Our sanctification takes effort!
Keep Christ central in your life. The crown of King Jesus makes Him superior to anything else. In the Old Testament, the leaders of the people were prophets, priests, and kings. Prophets spoke God’s words to the people. Priests gave God sacrifices on behalf of the people. Kings ruled over the people as God’s representative. These three roles foreshadowed Christ’s role in our lives. He is prophet (the Word), priest (our sacrifice), and king (the One who reigns and rules over us).
A theme emerges from the book of Hebrews: Jesus is better. He is a better hope, a better covenant, a better sacrifice, and a better promise. Matthew writes, “Seek the kingdom of God above all else.” Why? King Jesus is far better than anything else that rules your life. You don’t just add Jesus to your life. When you accept Him, Jesus becomes your life! Our world is racing towards the day when Jesus’ coronation is complete. His kingdom is going to bring heaven and earth together.
In Hebrews, the people had accepted the religious ritual surrounding the Messiah. But they rejected the actual Messiah. Hebrews 12:28 gives us this reminder: Jesus’ kingdom can’t be shaken. What crown are you wearing? What takes the supreme place? Are you willing to lay down your crown to serve the kingdom of God?
Can you imagine how exhausting the old sacrificial system must have been? All those laws, requirements, and obligations. The constant need to expiate guilt through the shedding of blood. The gruesome nature of slaughtering animals in front of everyone. Why are you still trying to work to God on your own when Jesus has already worked on your behalf?
There is a new and better promise from God. He is King Jesus! None of us have a crown of glory. We lost it in sin. And we keep trying to coronate ourselves with other crowns. We’re just wearing ourselves out. Only the King can return your true crown. But you must accept the King to receive it.
Even Death and Destruction hold no secrets from the Lord.
How much more does he know the human heart!
King Jesus has access to the darkest parts of your heart. How great is our King? Jesus is acutely aware of your worst and still loves you with His best. Consider God’s grace today. The love of Jesus far exceeds the deepest sins of your soul.
Thursday’s Prayer through Scripture: Read Hebrews 9:27-28. Focus on how Christ’s sacrifice was once for all. In your prayer time, thank Jesus we don’t have to atone for sins over and over. The King’s sacrifice is sufficient!
Friday’s Bible Project Video: Watch this video on Hebrews. What makes this book complex? Why is the book an essential connection between the Old Testament and New Testament?