Read for This Week’s Study: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Matthew 5:17-28; Hosea 2:18-20; Isaiah 56:6-7; Hebrews 8:7-8; Hebrews 10:4; Matthew 27:51.
Memory Verse: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah” (Jeremiah 31:31, RSV).
A cartoon in a magazine years ago showed a business executive in an office standing before a group of other executives. He was holding a box of detergent in his hands, showing it to the other men and women. He proudly pointed to the word New that was displayed in large red letters on the box, the implication being, of course, that the product was new. The executive then said, “It’s the ‘New’ on the box that is new.” In other words, all that changed, all that was new, was simply the word New on the box. Everything else was the same.
In a sense, one could say that the new covenant is like that. The basis of the covenant, the basic hope that it has for us, the basic conditions of it, are the same as what was found in the old covenant. It has always been a covenant of God’s grace and mercy, a covenant based on a love that transcends human foibles and defeats.
The Week at a Glance: What parallels exist between the old and new covenants? What role does the law play in the covenant? With whom were the covenants made? What does the book of Hebrews mean by a “better covenant”? (Hebrews 8:6). What relation is there between the covenant and the heavenly sanctuary?