Hebrews 8 and 9 (7)
In chapters 8 and 9, the writer labors to help his readers understand how the sacrifice of Christ makes Him the only way to know the rest God is preparing. As beautiful, sophisticated, and venerable as the Old Covenant sacramental system was – with its washings, blood sacrifices, priests, and tabernacle – it was only a temporary arrangement, and could never satisfy the need for final and forever cleansing that only Jesus provides. The writer wanted his readers to understand that only “those who eagerly wait for Him” (Heb. 9.28) will know the better sacrifice, better covenant, and better rest of God.
Read Acts 4.8-12.
Read and Meditate on Hebrews 8 and 9.
Think it through.
1. The first readers of this epistle were drifting from their commitment to Christ, seeking “rest” from the harassment they were receiving from Jewish friends and relatives by turning back to Judaism as their best hope. But they were making a mistake in two ways: First, in the rest they were seeking, and second, within the framework of religious life to which they were returning. Explain. How many different ways, thus far, has the writer of Hebrews sought to arrest that drift?
2. To this point, the writer has made Jesus – front and center – the only hope of finding God’s rest. He has said we must “look to” Jesus, “consider” Him, “hold fast our confidence” in Him, come to Him in prayer, learn obedience with Him, mature in Him, hope in Him and “come to God through Him.” Explain each of these ideas. How do they apply to your own life as a follower of Jesus Christ? Does it make sense to seek rest – or any of “the good things to come” – anywhere other than in Jesus? Explain.
“So then we also are new, or rather we were made new, but now have become old; therefore we are ‘near to vanishing away,’ and to destruction. Let us scrape off this old age. It is indeed no longer possible to do it by washing, but by repentance it is possible here in this life. If there be in us anything old, let us cast it off; if any ‘wrinkle,’ if any stain, if any ‘spot,’ let us wash it away and become fair, that ‘the king may desire our beauty.’” John Chrysostom (344-407 AD)
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. Romans 3.19-22
Father, thank You for the rest You have provided in and through Jesus! Today, let me know that rest more completely, so that…
Pray Psalm 22.22-31.
In these verses, the victorious Servant looks beyond His suffering to consequences and joy that have been set down before Him (cf. Heb. 12.1, 2). Meditate on what Jesus accomplished through His better sacrifice, better covenant, better priesthood, better promises, and better hope. Give God abundant thanks and praise!
Psalm 22.23-28 (Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All you who fear the Lord, now praise His holy Name!
You children of His glorious Word, declare His fame!
We stand in awe of our eternal God, and on His mercy call.
For He has not despised the anguish of our King,
Nor from Him hid His eyes, Who knew such suffering.
Let praise arise from all who love and serve the Ruler of the skies!
The suff’ring King shall eat and praise with us the Lord.
Forever we His praise repeat and trust His Word.
Praise God above, all you who keep His vows and who His mercies love!
All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord;
All those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King! His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!
Psalm 22.29-31 (Dix: For the Beauty of the Earth)
All the prosp’rous of the earth shall before His mercy fall;
Bending low before His worth, hear them humbly on Him call.
Even those low in the grave He will by His mercy save.
Let the generations all witness to His saving grace;
Let them to all nations call, “Bow before His holy face!”
Let the children of the earth hear of Jesus’ saving worth!
T. M Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press).