There is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
What does Hebrews 7 have to do with you and me today? In verses 11-19, the writer explained two applications of this passage for us. I will summarize them with two theological truths.
The first truth is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Verse 11 says, “If perfection was through the Levitical priesthood . . . what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?” One time I was in the mall and I walked by the Apple store. People were lined up to buy a brand-new iPhone, even though most of them already had a perfectly functioning phone. Why were they willing to pay hundreds of dollars to replace a perfectly functioning phone? In their minds the promise of something better necessitated a change. That is the point the writer made in Hebrews 7:11. If the Levitical priesthood was working well, why did we need a different kind of priest? The fact is, the old priesthood was inferior to the priesthood Jesus ushered in. The Old Testament priest was imperfect; he was always sacrificing for his own sins. His authority was limited, his ministry was narrow, his service was temporary, and the sacrifice he offered was ineffective. That is why there needed to be a new priesthood. Jesus is that new, improved priest. He is perfect Himself. He never had to sacrifice for His own sins. His authority is unlimited. His ministry is broad. His sacrifice was effective once and for all. That is why Jesus Christ is the perfect high priest.
The second truth is, “A new broom sweeps clean.” When we get a new boss at work or a church gets a new pastor, with that new leader comes a whole new focus and way of doing things. That is what the writer was saying in verse 12: “When the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.” When Jesus came, He was not just a new priest; He brought in a different law. Under this new way of doing business that Jesus ushered in, no longer does our acceptability before God depend on our adherence to the Old Testament Law. Jesus offers something better. “On the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (7:18-19).
The old system did not work. The Law could never make us holy. God’s Law may govern your behavior if you think you will get in trouble, but it will never eliminate your desire to sin. And the sacrificial system is ineffective to make us clean. Hebrews 9 says the blood of animals could never wipe away our sin. With Jesus comes a better hope, a better way, a better access to God. Ephesians 2:18 says, “Through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” That is our hope, in Jesus, the superior priest who offered a superior sacrifice to obtain a superior salvation. There are not many ways to gain access to God. There is only one way to have a relationship with God, and it is through our perfect high priest, Jesus Christ.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “And Now For The Main Course!” 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.