The pinnacle and crowning glory of Mount Zion – the church – is that we have come ‘to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel’ (Hebrews 12:24).
Though clear and simple, this statement is also profound. In a few short phrases it encapsulates the message of the whole Bible.
We have come ‘to Jesus’ – and what a glorious Person this epistle shows him to be! Eternal Son, embodiment of the Father’s glory, heir of all things, creator and sustainer of the universe, he nevertheless became a man and dwelt among us.
He is our brother, priest and intercessor; our sin-offering and our meeting place with God. And now, having perfected his elect for ever, he reigns on high – yet occupies a throne of grace and dwells among his people.
And we have ‘come’ to him in such a way that we have entered with him into the presence of Almighty God. In Christ our privilege is unspeakable and our riches unsearchable!
But the Writer does nor leave it there. We have not just ‘come to Jesus’ but rather to ‘Jesus-the-Mediator-of-the-new-covenant’. As Moses mediated the old covenant, so Christ mediates the new and better covenant (Hebrews 8:6).
‘He is the mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first [old] covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance’ (Hebrews 9:15).
The contrast between the two covenants could not be greater. The first marks and condemns transgression; the second redeems the transgressor. Those bound under the old covenant could look forward only to death, for it was ‘the ministry of condemnation’ (2 Cor. 3:9). But under the new covenant it is Christ who dies, atoning for our sin.
The first covenant held promise of an earthly homeland; but the new guarantees an eternal inheritance. To enter this amazing covenant we must come to God through Christ, for he alone is its mediator.
Too often today men preach a lesser Jesus, a Christ whose role in God’s economy is ill-defined. But the Writer is in no doubt about the matter. Christ is ‘the Mediator of the new covenant’. That is what he is – what he came to be.
Neither he nor his ministry towards sinners can be understood apart from the covenant he came to inaugurate and consummate.
The everlasting purposes of God; the covenants of promise made with Noah, Abraham, and David; the covenant at Sinai – indeed, his covenant of redemption made with his Son before time began – are all fulfilled in, and only in, the new covenant.
That is why it is immense folly to turn back from this covenant to the shadow-world of the Mosaic law – to outward religion, to sanctification by moral or religious works, or to a ‘holiness’ found anywhere except in Christ.