Discussion Guide: Jesus - The Mediator of a New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15-28)
Monday: Hebrews 9:15-28
Tuesday: Hebrews 9:15; 1 Timothy 2:5
Wednesday: Exodus 24:7-8; Matthew 26:28
Thursday: Hebrews 7:27; 9:12, 26; 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18
Friday: Hebrews 9:28; Titus 2:11-14
Jesus’ death put a New Covenant into effect and provided an inheritance for us.
Under the Old Covenant, God’s people stood to gain an earthly inheritance. If they obeyed the laws given to them at Sinai, God would give them a peaceful life in Canaan with more than enough to live on (Leviticus 26:1-13).
Glorious as the Old Covenant was, it is eclipsed in every way by the scale of the New. In the case of an inheritance, Jesus’ sacrificial death for us means that God’s people are now promised permanent enjoyment of a new earth that’s free of sin’s effects (v 15).
When Hebrews was written, it was possible to translate the same Greek word diathēkē as “covenant” or “will”. The author seems to see Jesus’ death as significant to both meanings. On one hand, a sacrificial death is needed to put a covenant into effect (vv 14-15, 18-22). On the other, a person’s will goes into effect upon their death (vv 16-17).
Jesus’ death, then, both took something and gave something. It took the curse of death from us (the sense of covenant) and gave us an inheritance (the sense of will). Thus, the gospel is not only that God removes our sins but that he gives us the rewards of Jesus’ sinless life.
The superiority of the New Covenant is also seen by comparing its High Priest with the Old Covenant (or Mosaic) High Priests. For starters, Mosaic High Priests served in a copy of the place Jesus now serves in (vv 23-24). Additionally, they would enter the Most Holy Place to make an offering for sin and reappear to do it again the next year. The constant repetition meant that sin was never really dealt with.
But there’s nothing repeatable about what Jesus did (vv 25-28). While Mosaic High Priests offered an animal’s blood, Jesus offered his own. And since Jesus is human and humans only die once, there’s no possible scenario where he sacrifices himself multiple times to cover our sin. The cross was his one shot to get every last sin. Fortunately, what hundreds of visits to the Most Holy Place could never do, Jesus did “once for all” (v 26) in the course of a few hours on a Friday.
As Christians, we have not yet received our full inheritance. What parts of our inheritance do we already have? What parts will come later? (See Colossians 1:13-14; Romans 8:1; Philippians 3:20-21; Revelation 21:1-4)
Are you “eagerly waiting” for Jesus to come back? What about his return most excites you? What tends to dampen your eagerness for that day?
Read Titus 2:11-14. What effect should the future return of Jesus have on the way we live our lives in the present?
Hebrews 9:26b – “…he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
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