19 Aug The Real Thing
August 19, 2019
The Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
Many years ago, when I was a youth pastor, our biggest event of the year was our Halloween celebration. We would take busloads of students to a farmhouse we had turned into a haunted house. This event required elaborate preparation, so I spent weeks working on it. One Saturday I had been working out there all day, and I needed to call Amy. This was before cell phones, so I had to find a payphone. Thankfully, I saw an old motel across the road with a phone booth in the parking lot. I went into the phone booth and put in my quarter–no dial tone. I looked up and saw the problem–the phone was not attached to the wires above. “That’s strange,” I thought. Then I saw a place marked “Office.” I thought, “Maybe the motel manager will allow me to use the office phone.” I knocked on the door–no response. The door was slightly ajar, so I carefully opened it. Imagine my surprise when there was nothing on the other side of the door! The door opened into a vacant field. The motel was a facade. Later, I found out I had stumbled on a set constructed for a movie that was about to film there. I thought about how late one night, some motorist would pull into the parking lot, thinking he had found a place to rest his weary head. What a disappointment he was in for!
If you put your quarter into the copy of a telephone, you are going to lose your money. If you try to gain a night’s rest in the facade of a motel, you are going to lose a night’s sleep. But if you put your faith in a religious system based on a facade–a shadow of the real thing–you are in danger of losing your soul. That is what Hebrews 8 is about.
Hebrews 8 reminds us that the main parts of Judaism–the Levitical priesthood, the temple–were not the real thing. They were shadows, or copies, of the real thing. Why would you put your faith in a shadow instead of the real thing? In Hebrews, the writer encouraged first-century Jewish Christians not to fall back into the old covenant. Jesus Christ is a superior priest who offered a superior sacrifice to obtain a superior salvation. The writer showed that Christianity is superior to every aspect of Judaism: to the angels, to the prophets, to Moses. In chapters 5-7, he showed that Jesus Christ is a superior priest. The Old Testament priests were imperfect. They had to offer sacrifices for their own sins. Their authority was limited, their ministry was narrow, their service was temporary, and their sacrifices were ineffective. They had to be offered over and over again.
Compare that to Jesus Christ, who was a perfect priest. He never had to sacrifice for His own sins. His authority was unlimited, His ministry was broad, His service was forever, and His sacrifice was effective once for all. In Hebrews 7:26-28, the writer summarized the superiority of Jesus: “It was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.”
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.