Please turn to Hebrews 9:15-28. In the first part of chapter 9, the author of Hebrews contrasted the Mosaic covenant with the new covenant and emphasized that Jesus is a better priest of a better covenant because the ritual and the sacrifices of the old covenant pointed forward to Jesus. In verse 15 of this passage, the author of Hebrews explains that Jesus’ effective, atoning death is the fundamental reason why He is a better priest of a better covenant. Then, in verses 16-28, he elaborates on this truth. First, in verses 16-18, the author of Hebrews explains why Christians believe that Jesus needed to die. Then, in verses 19-23, he reminds us of how blood was used as the agent of cleansing in the purification rituals of the Old Testament. Finally, in verses 24-28, the author points to the efficacy of Jesus’ shedding of blood as the ultimate reason why Jesus is a better priest of a better covenant. 



I. The Necessity of Jesus’ Death. 

In Hebrews 9:15-18, the author of Hebrews explains that it is especially Jesus’ death that shows why He is a better priest of a better covenant.  First, in verse 15, he says “Therefore, he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance...” Jesus is a better priest because, through His death, we receive the promises that God made to us to give us an eternal inheritance in Genesis 3:15, Genesis 12, and Jeremiah 33. Secondly, in verse 15, he says, “since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgression…” The author of Hebrews is telling us that Jesus’ death redeemed us. Now, the word “redeemed” is the language of purchase. By Jesus’ death, we are purchased back from what our transgressions deserve. Old Testament sacrifices may have made you ritually pure, but they did not purchase you back from what your transgressions deserved. In contrast, the author of Hebrews is saying, “Jesus is a better priest of a better covenant because His death actually bought you back from what your sins deserve.” Thirdly, in verse 15, he says, “a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” The author of Hebrews explains here that Jesus’ death worked both directions.  It not only forgives the sins of those who now believe in Him; it covered the sins of all believers in the Old Testament who lived before He was incarnated. Thus, the author of Hebrews is telling us that Jesus is a better priest of a better covenant because all of those Levitical sacrifices were not effective for the forgiveness of sins but Jesus’ one death covered all the sins of all believers in all times.

Then in verses 16-18, the author of Hebrews explains why Jesus had to die. Specifically, he says that Jesus had to die because we broke the covenant. The only way that God could forgive us is if Jesus paid the penalty for that broken covenant.  So all the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were simply a picture pointing forward to the One who was really going to offer the one and only true sacrifice on our behalf for sin. And if you remember in Genesis 15 when God made a covenant with Abraham, only the smoking oven and the flaming torch, which was a symbol of the presence of God, passed between the animal pieces. When God went through those pieces, symbolically, He was promising that He would give His Son in the place of all who believe in Him. Therefore, the author of Hebrews is saying, “That is why Jesus had to die. You broke the covenant and Jesus died in your place.”  





II. The Crucial Role of Blood in the Old Covenant 

In Hebrews 9:19-23, the author of Hebrews explains that blood is the cleansing agent in almost every part of the old covenant ritual. The role of blood played a crucial role in the mediation of the old covenant.  And in these verses, the author shows us the centrality of the blood in the Old Testament sacrificial ritual and shows its significance for forgiveness of sins.  And again, his point is that that blood ritual did not in and of itself forgive sins. It pictured the need for forgiveness of sins and God’s provision for the forgiveness of sins, but it was not God’s solution for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus was God’s solution for the forgiveness of sins. That is why He is a better priest of a better covenant.



   III. The Finality, Efficacy, and Superiority of Jesus’ Death 

In Hebrews 9:24-28, the author of Hebrews explains that the finality and efficacy of Christ’s death shows its superiority, especially verse 28 where he says, “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly awaiting for him.” Therefore, he is saying, “Jesus, on Calvary, in one time and one place for all time, faced and quenched the unmitigated wrath of God so that all who trust Him, in all times, both before He lived and after, are forgiven their sins because He Himself bore their penalty.” That truth has two important implications. First, for all those Jewish people who were considering going back to Judaism at the time of the writing of this letter, the author of Hebrews is saying, “It will not do you any good to go back to the ritual religion of the Old Testament because you need to understand that none of that ritual has ever or will ever forgive even one part of one sin. All sin is forgiven in Jesus. Turn your back on Him and you turn your back on the one place where sin can be forgiven.” But it also says something else. There may be some people who treasure something more than Jesus or who do not think that Jesus’ blood can avail for them. The fact that Jesus’ death meant not only forgiveness for all who trusted in Him afterwards but for all who trusted in Him before He came, indicates to us that God has been at work in this plan from before the foundations of the world.  And that means, as the old Scottish paraphrase of Romans 8 says, “That He loved us from the first of time and He loves us to the last.” In other words, you have been on His heart before you were and before the world was. Jesus says to you and to me, “I have always loved you.” And He will say it face to face to all who trust in Him. May we thank God for the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ and pray that He would grant by His Spirit that no heart would reject His love.