He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
Hebrews 8:6 tells us that Jesus is superior to the Old Testament priests because He presides over a superior covenant with God: “He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.”
This verse says Jesus is the mediator. We understand what a mediator does. When there is a dispute between the management of a company and the workers in that company, usually a mediator will be brought in in order to work out an agreement. The mediator engages in shuttle diplomacy. He asks the employer, “What do you need?” Then he says to the workers, “What do you need?” And he tries to work out an agreement based on that. The Bible says that Jesus is the mediator between God and man. In 1 Timothy 2:5, Paul said, “There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” He is the only qualified go-between. But unlike the illustration of a mediator between management and workers, in the case of our relationship with God, God is the one who has been offended. That means we need a different kind of agreement with God to make things right. Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant.
In this verse, the word “covenant” refers to a will. There is a difference between a will and a contract. In a contract, both parties have input into the terms of the agreement. But in a will, only one person gets to decide who gets the benefits and what benefits they get. The beneficiaries of the will have no say in what is in that will. All they do is decide whether they want to accept or reject the offer. That is the word that is used here. Jesus Christ is the mediator of a will between God and man. God is the one who dictates the terms of this agreement. Ever since the beginning of time man has tried to dictate the terms of our relationship with God. But God says we must come to Him on His terms. Beginning in Exodus 19, there have only been two arrangements between God and man. The old arrangement between God and man was based completely on works. God said, “Here are My laws. Keep them and I will bless you. Disobey them and I will curse you.” Of course, nobody could keep the Old Testament Law, so there was a provision, a sacrificial system that temporarily covered the sins of the people until they sinned again. So there was a constant sin-and-sacrifice cycle. That was the old covenant.
But notice, there is a new covenant that Jesus represents. In the upper room, Jesus took the Passover meal and said, “I am offering you a new arrangement that is not based on your obedience. It is based on My blood. It is a new agreement.” The new covenant is just not new in time; it is new in its substance as well. Hebrews 8:6 says it is “a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” The new covenant contains new and better promises that the old covenant does not offer.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Real Thing” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.