Jesus helps us as God's special priest
1 The most important thing that we are saying is this: In Jesus, we do have this kind of special priest. He has now sat down to rule with God in heaven. He sits at the right side of God, who rules with all authority. 2 He serves as priest in heaven on our behalf. He is in God's very special place, near to God himself. That is like the special place in the tabernacle of long ago. But it is not a tent that people have made. The Lord himself has made this special place, and it is the true one.
3 It is the duty of every special priest to offer gifts and sacrifices to God. So Jesus, as our special priest, must also have something to offer. 4 If he was living on earth, then he would not be a priest. There are already priests on earth who offer gifts to God. They do this in the way that Moses' law tells them. 5 But the way that those Levite priests work is only like a picture of the true things in heaven. It is like a shadow of what would happen in heaven. Long ago, when Moses was ready to make the tabernacle, God warned him about it. God said to Moses, ‘Be careful to make everything just like the plan which I showed you on the mountain.’
8:5Many years ago, God met with Moses on a mountain called Sinai. In that place, God gave Moses his laws. God told Moses to make a special tent, called the tabernacle. He told him everything about how he should make it. See Exodus 24:15-18; 25:40; 26:30.
6 But now God has given Jesus a much better way to serve him as a priest. The new agreement that God makes with his people is possible because of Jesus. Because of Jesus' work on our behalf, the new agreement is better than the old one. It is much better because it started with better promises.
7 If there had been nothing wrong with that first agreement, then nobody would have needed a second agreement. 8 But God did find something wrong with it. As a result, he said this to his people:
‘Listen to this! The Lord says:
A time will come when I will make a new agreement with my people.
That is, with Israel's people and with Judah's people.
8:8Judah was one of Jacob's 12 sons. God gave Jacob the name Israel. At the time when Jeremiah spoke this message from God, Judah's people and Israel's people were separate.
9 It will not be like the agreement that I made with their ancestors.
At that time, I led my people out of the country called Egypt.
I led them like a father who takes his child's hand.
But they did not continue to obey my agreement with them.
So I turned away from them.
That is what the Lord says.
10 But now the Lord says this:
After the time of that old agreement
I will make a new agreement with Israel's people.
It will be like this:
I will put my laws into their thoughts.
I will write my laws deep inside them.
I will be their God and they will be my people.
11 As a result, nobody will have to teach their friends about me.
They will never need to say to their family, “You should know the Lord.”
This is because everyone will know me.
The least important people will know me,
and the greatest people will know me too.
12 I will be kind to them.
I will forgive them for the bad things that they do.
I will not continue to remember their sins.
That is what the Lord says.’
8:12God's prophet Jeremiah spoke this message from God long ago. See Jeremiah 31:31-34.
13 We see that God was speaking about a new agreement. That shows that he has caused the first agreement to become old. And anything that is becoming old like that will soon finish.
8:13The old agreement that God made with his people included many rules. If the people obeyed all those rules, then their lives would be happy. See Deuteronomy 5:32-33; 8:1. But the people could not obey all the rules. Those rules could not really make them right with God. The rules could not make them become new people. The rules could not make them really love God. So they needed a better agreement, that could really make them different inside. Jesus has made that new agreement possible for us. We can become right with God and we can know him because of Jesus.