24 Days of Advent Scripture Devotionals

Day 20 – A New Covenant

Prophet Jeremiah - Michelangelo

Prophet Jeremiah – Michelangelo

Jeremiah 31:31-33

Jeremiah had one of the most difficult jobs of all time. He was commanded to speak words of warning and judgement to the people even though no one would listen. Jeremiah 7:27: “Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.”

The “weeping prophet” delivered the bad news that Israel would go into captivity for their disobedience. The people had failed to keep the covenant with the Lord based on the law given to Moses. (Do you remember the ten commandments?)

The old covenant was established on man’s faithfulness to obey the law. If we obeyed the law we would be blessed. If we disobeyed we would be cursed. People have endeavored for centuries to keep the law with their own good works but all have failed. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Even as Israel was already going into captivity, Jeremiah prophesied about some good news: a New Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31-33

“Behold, 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— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

“For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” That is the good news of the new covenant.

On the night before he was crucified, as he celebrated the Passover (Last Supper) with his followers, Jesus spoke of this new covenant.

Matthew 26:26-28

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Good news! Incredibly wonderful, unbelievably awesome, most excellent news! The new covenant can’t be broken by our failure because it is not based on our performance.

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. – Hebrews 8:6

The new covenant is better because it was established on better promises. The one who established it is none other than the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The letter to the Hebrews also speaks about how Christ as our great High Priest has offered himself as “one sacrifice for sins forever”.

Hebrews 10:1-25

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”

Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hymn: Arise, My Soul, Arise

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

Three different arrangements to these powerful lyrics written by Charles Wesley…