By Jamin Roller
My family went to a friend’s house a few weeks ago to swim. My two oldest jumped out of the car and were in the water before the car door shut. My youngest was a few days away from starting swim lessons but had never been in the water without her puddle jumper. She got caught up in all the excitement and, with nothing to help her swim, jumped into the water towards her brother. In her mind, her brother was going to catch her and help her swim. He is a good swimmer, but not strong enough to hold her and swim simultaneously. The water was too deep. Thankfully, we were in the water after her before she went under, and after about ten minutes of crying, everything was ok.
One of the main themes in the book of Hebrews is the insufficiency of the old covenant. This chapter says very simply, if the “first covenant had been faultless,” we would not need a second (Hebrews 8:7). The scene in the pool between my son and my daughter came to mind when reading this chapter. My daughter needed rescue, but the person she looked to for help was not strong enough. The would-be hero had to worry about the water for himself and couldn’t carry another in it.
This was the relationship the people of God had with the old covenant. It depended on sacrifices that had to be made over and again. It was mediated by priests who themselves needed atonement for their sin. It was insufficient to rescue God’s people and keep them above the waters, in the right relationship with Him.
We needed a superior covenant. We needed a stronger rescuer. In today’s reading, the author of Hebrews repeats what has been said since the first chapter: we have that in Jesus Christ.
He is not simply a high priest but a Great High Priest. He sits not on an earthly throne but a heavenly one. He ministers in the sanctuary not made by man but made by the Lord. He has a superior ministry, a better covenant established on better promises.
Jesus is not only kind enough to rescue us; He is strong enough to keep us secure in covenant with God.
I am reminded in this chapter that I can look confidently to Jesus, knowing He is my sufficient Savior who holds all His followers and me in His superior covenant (v.6).