For this reason [Jesus] is the mediator of a new covenant.
Hebrews 9 is the heart of the book of Hebrews. Why is it that people, especially the Jewish audience to whom this letter was written, reject the gospel message? I picked up a book recently by a prominent Jewish writer, and he explained why Jewish people do not convert to Christianity. He said the major problem the Jews have with Jesus is not His teachings. Who gets offended by “turn the other cheek”? It is not Jesus’ teachings that offend people, nor is it His miracles. Everybody likes miracles. The stumbling block to the Jews is the death of Jesus. They were looking for a Messiah who would rule and reign, not one who would suffer and die. It was completely antithetical to their thinking that the Messiah would suffer and die.
The writer said in Hebrews 9:15, “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” Notice two things about this verse. First, the writer talked about the need for Christ’s death. Why did He have to die? He died for the redemption of transgressions.
The old covenant could only reveal sin; it could never remove sin. That is the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. Only the blood of Christ can remove our sin. That is why we do not hesitate to say that Christianity is the superior religion because it alone offers the way for man’s forgiveness.
In today’s culture, the most prized virtue is tolerance. Now, I believe in tolerance. Tolerance means respecting people with whom you disagree. True tolerance is respecting somebody’s right to be wrong. But today, the definition of tolerance has been twisted to mean saying, “All ideas are equally valid. You believe this is a way to God, and I believe that is a way to God. You have no right to say your way is any better than my way.” That is what tolerance means today.
Let me show you how ridiculous that is. Suppose I get on the on-ramp of a highway. The only problem is I am not driving on the on-ramp; I am going up the off-ramp into oncoming traffic. Motorists start flashing their headlights, honking their horns, and leaning their heads out of the windows to yell, “You are going the wrong way!” I respond, “Why are you being so intolerant? Why are you saying I am wrong and you are right?” They are not being intolerant. They are simply trying to keep me from killing myself and those around me. There is an absolute truth. There is one way to go on that on-ramp if you want to live. And it is the same way in our relationship with God. There are not many ways to God; there is one way to God, and it is through faith in Jesus Christ. That is what the writer was saying. There is only one way to have the redemption of our sins. That is why the death of Christ is necessary.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Where There Is A Will, There Is A Body” 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.