Do you ever remember being lost in a store as a kid? I can remember when I was about nine-years-old being in the Pathmark grocery store by our house while my mom did her typical Thursday night grocery shopping. I remember being so fixated in the cereal aisle that when I finally looked up, suddenly my mom was gone. Like, no where to be found gone! I was left standing there; just me and my new friend Cap’n Crunch (who by the way isn’t a Captain at all. Based on the bars on his sleeve the Cap’n is actually only a Commander. I guess Commander Crunch didn’t have the same ring as Cap’n, but I digress).
Not that my mom left me, she wouldn’t do that, I don’t think… but a part of our trips to the store was my responsibility to keep up. As I frantically started looking up and down the aisle, I realized I was going to have to leave the aisle to find her. Just as I was about to burst into tears I remember seeing a shadow on the floor that looked just like my mom’s. I started to calm down, but I was still a little anxious considering I hadn’t physically seen her yet. Suddenly the shadow moved and my mom stepped around the corner to make sure I was okay and still with her.
Although the shadow was somewhat of a comfort, it wasn’t until I saw my mom that I was assured of being rescued from my fear and worry.
This is exactly what we’ve been talking about when we discuss that the Old Covenant, the Old Law, the High Priest sacrificial system; it was just a shadow (Heb. 8:5) of the real thing (i.e. Jesus) to come! Although the people of Israel were comforted in knowing that their Levitical High Priest had offered sacrifice for one more year, it wasn’t until Jesus came that everlasting hope entered the world.
As we will learn, to the Jewish observer Jesus didn’t fit the mold of the Messiah. He didn’t even fit the mold of the High Priest, but again we need to remember, that was intentional too.
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.
Christ’s Role as High Priest
The main point of Hebrews 8 is to fully establish Christ’s role as the High Priest forever! We still need a High Priest (Jesus), but the different is, our High Priest is not weak, or ordinary, sinful, or dying. Instead, He is the Son of God! He is strong, mighty, our defender, and shield! Our High Priest isn’t limited in power or location, but instead offered the final sacrifice as God’s Lamb for the sins of the world. He doesn’t work or worship in a Tabernacle made by man, but like (verse 1) says, he is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. The question then that needs to be answered is this: What is he doing there?
Hebrews 8:6 (NLT) 6 But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
Where the original High Priests were limited to enter the Holy of Holies but once a year, Jesus is granted unlimited access to the Father, mediating on our behalf. Just as we read in 1 John 2:1 (NLT) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.
Just as the author utilized the words of Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Hebrews 8 regarding the promise of the new Covenant, Jesus meets with his disciples in the upper room to explain that he is the fulfillment of the old covenant. Although they didn’t quite know it yet, but in that moment, the disciples, who only recognized God as a shadow on the floor, saw their heavenly father step around the corner to make sure they were okay and still with him.