Project 119: Hebrews 7:11-22

 |  Project 119  |  Ben Winder

"A Better Way"

Do you remember when you first learned about keyboard shortcuts? (If you haven’t yet, Google it; they will change your life for the better!) Instead of taking your mouse all the way to the edit menu and selecting “cut,” then repeating the arduous task to select “paste,” you can just do two quick shortcuts—”Ctrl-X, Ctrl-V”—and voila! The task is accomplished without taking your hands off the keyboard. This is not to suggest the menu option is entirely ineffective. Those who remember a world before computers made such copying and pasting possible—who perhaps remember that cutting once required actual scissors and pasting once required actual paste—would no doubt know that moving one’s cursor to the menu bar is a great improvement. Yet there is a better thing.

If you know about keyboard shortcuts and you find yourself watching someone work who is unfamiliar with this life-changing technological innovation, it can be an anxiety-inducing experience. That is, unless you have the opportunity to share the “gospel” of shortcuts with them. On the other hand, if you watch a real whiz with shortcuts deftly maneuver through the digital world with shortcuts unknown to you (say, perhaps, a professional video or image editor), you will no doubt be filled with awe, if not a bit of sinful envy.

In some ways the Old Covenant was good. It was a way for God’s people to be in tenuous connection with the divine, though really it was weak and useless. Now whether that Covenant and those priests were scissors and glue or old-fashioned menu clicking, I’ll leave to you to decide; but this I know: something (or rather, Someone) better has come.

Jesus is the Guarantor of a better Covenant. Perfection could not be achieved the old way by the old priesthood. Striving fruitlessly by one’s works to match the flawless, sinless perfection of God is a good way to wear ourselves out and to realize we cannot measure up to God’s demands. As Paul told the Romans, “ . . . no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:20 NIV). The Law could show us our shortcomings, but it did not lead to indestructible life. No, that took a new thing. That took Jesus.

Perhaps this Advent season, God might remind you of the indestructible life that is ours in Christ Jesus, with whom you might share this better hope, the better Covenant that is offered to us in Christ, our royal High Priest who has come and is coming again. That is good news, undoubtedly more life-changing than even keyboard shortcuts.

Hebrews 7:11-22 (NIV):

11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:

“You are a priest forever,

in the order of Melchizedek.”

18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:

“The Lord has sworn

and will not change his mind:

‘You are a priest forever.’ ”

22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.