Scripture: Hebrews 8:1-13
Key verse: (6) But Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted through better promises.
Reflection: Meditation is a structured process in which a third party attempts to resolve a conflict or discrepancy between two other parties. It might be negotiating a divorce agreement, sorting out the custody arrangements and the financial obligations. It might be resolving a lawsuit in which one person believes they have been harmed by another. It might be an attempt to work through a personal conflict between peers or co-workers. Mediation is used to lessen financial costs, reduce violence, and support peaceful processes.
The New Testament writers use a wide variety of images to describe the saving work of Jesus Christ. Jesus is a redeemer, he is a shepherd, he is a sacrificial lamb, he is the firstborn in God’s family. The writer of Hebrews uses the image of a mediator to describe Jesus. The writer reminds his readers of the lineage of priests who served God and God’s people. The priest designated as the High Priest was responsible for making sacrifices in order to seek forgiveness of sins.
In Hebrews, Jesus is a new high priest. The former priests were “prevented by death from continuing in office” but Jesus will be a priest eternally (Hebrews 7:23-25). The former priests did their work in an earthly sanctuary but Jesus works in the cosmic tent that the Lord has set up (Hebrews 8:1-5). Jesus is the mediator for humanity and God.
Now the image has its problems if taken too far. That’s true for all of the biblical images for Christ. Human attempts to explain the divine will always be imperfect and fall short of what Christ actually is doing. However, this image can be a powerful one when we feel estranged from God or when we feel unworthy and small in the presence of God’s holiness and majesty. We have a mediator. We have someone who comes to us on God’s behalf and who offers us mercy and forgiveness. Good news.
Prayer: Thank you for Jesus Christ, for his coming to live in the flesh among us, for his steadfast love and transforming power, for his selfless sacrifice on the cross. Deepen my trust in him and encourage my faithfulness as I seek to follow him. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].