We’re all tempted to be on the lookout for items that are “new and improved.” We can easily become enamored with appliances promising additional conveniences, cars loaded with luxury options, houses that include energy-efficient features, or cell phones with the latest upgrades. But we know from experience that the latest and greatest updates do not always match their promotional hype. Newer is not always better.
Nevertheless, the possibility of occasional letdowns does not discourage us from taking advantage of significant leaps in technology. We know that advances in science and industry do lead to some wonderful inventions. An automobile is better than a horse and buggy, steel-toed work boots provide much more support and protection than primitive sandals, a phone is a much quicker way to contact someone than the Pony Express, and thanks to anesthetics, surgery today is much more bearable than in centuries past. So, while the claims for the latest “life-changing” product deserve a certain level of scrutiny, there are many instances where the claims have some truth to them.
Throughout Scripture, God institutes priests to make atonement for His people. Like us, they couldn’t shake their sin no matter how hard they tried. A priest represented the people for the Lord in helping remove the weight of sin through the sacrificial system God commanded. As the Israelites wandered in the wilderness in the book of Numbers, Aaron was first appointed to carry this mantle of the priesthood. In places like Zechariah 6, we see the Israelites longing for the day when their final priest would come. God promised a newer and better covenant fulfilled by a new and better priest.
In Jesus, that promise of a new and better priest has come true. The priests of God throughout biblical history had a role to play, but were ultimately pointing forward to Jesus, who is both the final priest and the final sacrifice of the new covenant between God and man. As Hebrews 8:6 says, “Jesus has now obtained a superior ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been established on better promises.”
In the case of Jesus, newer really is better. He has a superior ministry based on a better covenant and better promises. We don’t need to look around for a better sacrifice. We don’t need to search for a better salvation. We only need to look at Jesus, our risen Priest and King.
Written by Brandon Smith