Jesus Is Better

Hebrews 11–2 [widescreen]

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish supplemental commentary on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading for the day. We are currently in the Christmas season, so we are looking at passages that better help us understand the purpose for Christ’s coming into the world. Please be sure to subscribe to this page and follow along every day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Hebrews 8:3–6 (ESV)

3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 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.

Christ, the Fulfillment

the old testament in the bible

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Reading the Word

Hebrews 8:1–2 (ESV)

1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Many people have trouble making sense of the Old Testament. What was God doing then? It seems so different than the New Testament. A key to understanding the Old is to realize that it is pointing to the future. God makes many promises to his people that find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. So, the Old Testament is looking forward to the fulfillment of promises while the New Testament announces that Jesus is the fulfillment.

The author of Hebrews tells us that the priests and sacrifices were also pointing forward to Jesus. The Old Testament priests ministered in the tabernacle and the temple before the Lord, but Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and ministers on our behalf. He is far superior to the priests!

With Christmas, we see the fulfillment of what God had promised his people. It reminds us that God does keep his promises and that we can trust in his word. As we continue to live in this world and wait for Christ to come again, we find confidence as we celebrate his incarnation.

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Old and New Treasure

close up of coins on table

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Reading the Word

Matthew 13:51–52 (ESV)

51 “Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

The disciples went to Jesus in Matthew 13:36 and asked him to explain the Parable of the Weeds. He explained the parable to them and then told them three more shorts ones. After this he asked his disciples, “Have you understood all of these things?” They replied that they had. Jesus then called his disciples “scribes” who had been trained for the kingdom of heaven.

A scribe was an expert in the Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus often condemned the scribes of his day for not understanding the word of God. These verses tell us that Jesus was training up a new group of scribes who would truly know how to interpret the Scriptures to the people. These new scribes, Jesus’ disciples, would be able to teach both what was already written in the Old Testament and also the new teaching of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament and they would be able to explain how it all held together.

The Bible is one grand story of the redemption of mankind from sin. The Old Testament Scriptures point forward to Jesus coming into the world as the Messiah and Savior of all. The New Testament was written to reflect back on how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament promises and also the things Jesus said and did, especially the crucifixion and resurrection. We cannot read the Bible and understand it if we do not read it with our eyes fixed on Jesus.

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