Please turn to Hebrews 8:1-13. Where do we turn when we are looking for hope but find ourselves in the midst of despair? Where do we turn when we are looking for encouragement but we find ourselves underneath discouragement?  Do we look to better circumstances?  No, that is not where we look for hope. In fact, we do not look to our circumstances at all for our hope. Instead, the author of Hebrews encourages us to look somewhere else. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” And, in a real sense, that is what the author of Hebrews is saying here in this passage. Specifically, he encourages us to place our hope in Jesus alone. He is telling us where we find the basis of the life of true blessedness and joy by pointing us directly to Jesus. This passage can easily be divided into two parts. First, in verses 1-5, the author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is a better priest. Then, in verses 6-13, he tells us that Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant. 

I. Jesus is a Better Priest. 

In Hebrews 8:1-5, the author of Hebrews is saying, “All those things that I was telling you about Jesus and Melchizedek were designed to teach you this one point - Jesus is not only better than the Old Testament priesthood that descended from Levi and Aaron; He is the only true priest. The former priests were simply copies of Him.” Thus, the author of Hebrews is telling us that the Old Testament priesthood, all it was, was a copy of the true priesthood of Jesus. Just as the presence of a real person is better than the picture of their likeness, the real priesthood of Jesus is better. Therefore, the author of Hebrews is saying, “Do not look to the copy for your hope. Do not look to the Old Testament priestly ritual for your hope. Look only to Jesus.” And that is a message for all of us. In our  discouragements and in our trials, we must not look to anything else but Jesus for our hope. The author of Hebrews is encouraging us to remember that we have a better priest in Jesus who is our great high priest. 

II. Jesus is the Mediator of a Better Covenant.  

In Hebrews 8:6-13, the author of Hebrews encourages us to look to the covenant of which Jesus is the mediator. In verse 6, he says, “But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.”  In other words, he is saying, “Jesus is better not only because He is a better priest but because He is a priest of a better covenant.  Jesus is better because He mediates the ultimate covenant.” 

In what way is this new covenant better? First, quoting from Jeremiah 31:33, he says in verse 10, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts.”  Now in the old covenant, when Moses came down from the mountain, the law was written on tablets of stone by the very finger of God.  But, in the new covenant, God writes His law by His Spirit on our hearts.  In other words, the author of Hebrews is explaining that the new covenant is better in the moral transformation that it works in the people of God.  

Second, still in verse 10 and quoting from Jeremiah 31:33, the author says, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” That is a significant Old Testament theme, and it is a theme that announces the purpose of God. And what is the purpose of God for you? It is for you to be His possession and for God to be your possession. It is for you to be His inheritance and for God to be your inheritance. The whole purpose of God is that He would be ours and we would be His. God says to us, “I will be your God and you will be My people.” And that truth is realized by this new and better covenant. 

Third, in verse 11, he quotes from Jeremiah 31:34 by saying, “And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest.”  This is referring to our experience of communion with God.  “To know” God is the language of intimacy in the Bible.  How do you express a personal relationship with God in biblical language?  You “know” God.  That is why J.I. Packer titled his book, Knowing God.  Packer’s study of God is called Knowing God because the Christian longs to have a personal experience and knowledge of the living God.  It is at the very heart of what true Christianity is about and this new covenant realizes that in a way that was never realized under the old covenant.

Fourth, in verse 12, the author of Hebrews quotes from Jeremiah 31:34 by saying, “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”  And so in actual forgiveness of sins, the new covenant is superior to the old covenant. It is important to understand that not one sin was forgiven by the Old Testament sacrifices.  All of the sins of the people of God in all ages are forgiven only by the blood of Jesus. As the hymn writer penned, “What can wash away my sin?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” That means that Abraham’s sins and Moses’ sins and Aaron’s sins and Joshua’s sins and David’s sins were not forgiven by animal sacrifices. They were forgiven by the blood of Jesus. And the author of Hebrews is also saying this new covenant has been fulfilled. On the night in which Jesus was betrayed, he took a cup and He said, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin.” And so, when we are in despair, where do we look? We do not look to our current circumstances and not to better circumstances; instead, we look to a better priest and to a better covenant. That is the hope that God has given to those who are despondent and despairing. Where do we find hope in this life? The author of Hebrews tells us to look to Jesus who is the better priest of a better covenant. May God work His Word into our hearts by His Spirit so that our focus of faith would be on Jesus only.