1) Do you ever struggle with doubts about whether the work of Jesus is really able to save you? How does this passage provide reassurance?
2) What are some of the “sacrifices” you offer to God to try to gain his favor and love? How does this passage help you fight that temptation?
3) How does the final, completed work of Christ allow us to obey Him and serve Him more freely?
Scripture: Hebrews 8:1-6
I. Jesus is a better priest because He offers a better sacrifice.
A. The priests in the Old Testament who were descended from the tribe of Levi had 3 main duties in their job description. Number 1 they made sacrifices. Number 2 they brought the blood of the
sacrifices to the location of God’s presence. And number 3 they waited for the result of their sacrifice. They waited to see how effective their work had been. The priests from the tribe of Levi offered animal sacrifices so that sins might be forgiven. But can an animal really be a substitute for you? No. You need a human to represent you before God. For this reason, we read in Hebrews 10:4: “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
B. We need a human sacrifice who perfectly obeyed God to take away our sin. And Jesus is that perfect sacrifice who offered Himself and His blood up to God for us on the cross. We read about Jesus’
perfection last week in Hebrews 7:26: “For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.”
II. Jesus is a better priest because He serves in a better location.
A. We learn about the location of where Jesus serves as a priest in Hebrews 8:2. Jesus is “a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.” Earth is not ultimate. It is heaven that is the ultimate. It is heaven that is greater in every way. The tabernacle was a temporary place that pointed forward to something greater – the true tabernacle in heaven where God lives and where Jesus serves as our great high priest. See also verses 4 and 5. Jesus went into heaven with the sacrifice of His blood, into the very presence of God.
B. Whose ministry is greater: the Levite priests who serve in a tent on earth or Jesus who serves as a priest at the right hand of God in heaven? Hebrews 9:24: “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Jesus has done for us what no other priest could do: enter into heaven itself. The earthly tabernacle is an inferior reflection of the real tabernacle in heaven. You want a priest who serves in the location of heaven.
III. Jesus is a better priest because He produces a better result.
A. What was the result of Jesus’ offering of Himself on the cross for our sins? We find the result in an ordinary word in Hebrews 8:1. It is the word seated. “We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in heaven.” Jesus sat down next to God in heaven after He died for our sins and was resurrected and ascended into heaven. What is significant about the fact that Jesus sat down? Jesus’ priestly work on the cross fully accomplished our salvation and brought us forgiveness from God. Jesus offered his sacrifice once for all when He offered up Himself (Heb. 7:27). The result of that one sacrifice on the cross was that we were fully and freely forgiven when we put our faith in Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, he said these words of good news for us in John 19:30: “It is finished.” No more sacrifices needed to be made. The result of Jesus’ sacrifice was complete and total forgiveness.
You can be good with God if you trust that Christ your priest died for your sins.
The letter to the Hebrews
Commentaries on Hebrews by Tom Schreiner and Raymond Brown
Bible study by Michael Kruger