A Superior Covenant
Open Your Bible
Hebrews 8:1-13, Zechariah 8:4-8, Luke 22:14-20, Romans 12:1-2
BY Patti Sauls
I admire the patience of the rhododendron bush that grows by the side of our house. Month after month, it sits, doing nothing but holding the same green leaves—no grand growth, no dramatic changes. But once a year, in late spring, everything changes. Green buds in the middle of each leaf cluster unfold to reveal big, bright fuchsia flowers. The humble bush transforms into a masterpiece bursting all around with beautiful blooms.
Today we see the unfolding of God’s covenant. In the Bible, covenant refers to the agreement between God and His people concerning His plan to rescue them and restore them to unity with Him forever. We can see its beauty from bud to bloom throughout the unfolding story of Scripture.
The bud of the old covenant centered on the commandments given through Moses and the system of animal sacrifice that God established to cleanse the nation of Israel from sin. The terms were set. God outlined the perfect pattern of love and obedience to ensure flourishing life with Him. Any deviation from His plan would result in separation and death. The Israelites could not hold up their end of the bargain. Disobedience grew like weeds, and Israel’s priests could never offer enough sacrifice to cover the people’s sins.
It seems like the plan failed. Could there be anything beautiful about the old covenant? Definitely! Through this covenant, God revealed a love for His people and His desire to be close to them. He uncovered the severe consequences of not following His ways: destruction and death. He exposed every person’s addiction to sin. These truths stand firm today. Clearly, each of us needs someone who can accomplish what we can’t.
The plan wasn’t a failure. Just watch the bud unfold and bloom. “See, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…” (Hebrews 8:8). God sent His Son to do what no one else could: fulfill the old covenant by standing in our place and holding up our end of the bargain. Jesus didn’t deviate from the plan. He lived a perfect life of love and obedience (1Peter 2:22). And He willingly became the spotless sacrifice that conquers sin.
Jesus’s fulfillment of the old covenant ushered in the new. It is for all nations, for all eternity (Revelation 7:9). What a beautiful transformation! The old covenant highlights our need; the new covenant highlights our hope. Jesus, our divine High Priest, secured the way for us to be united with Him forever. “He is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6).