20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.'” 22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. – Hebrews 7:20-22 (ESV)
We have a High Priest in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 4:14 tells us:
Jesus the Great High Priest Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (Hebrews 4:14 ESV)
But for the early audience of this letter, likely a congregation filled with Hebrew people, that statement may have caused confusion. For you see, they were used to the customs and traditions of the Levitical priesthood. So for these people who were relatively new to the Christian faith – and who were being pulled away from centuries of customs and traditions – it was a very big deal for this change in priesthoods to be explained correctly. In our passage of Scripture today, the writer of Hebrews continues this explanation. In verse 20 he writes,
“And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath,”
The Levitical priests – as their name suggests, were made priests because of their family lineage. One didn’t become a priest unless he was a descendant of Levi.
But Jesus, who is our High priest, was made a priest in another way as we read in verse 21,
but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’”
Jesus’ earthly lineage was through the line of Judah, not Levi, so it should be evident to the reader – and now to us – that He’s a different kind of priest and He became a priest in a different way. Rather than being eligible for priesthood because of His ancestors and lineage, He became a priest by an oath from God. This oath from God, which is presented here, is a quote taken directly from Psalm 110:4.
And as verse 7:22 reminds us, this Jesus, who was made a priest in a different kind of way is a different kind of priest,
This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.
Jesus was made a priest in a different way – via an oath from God – and is a different kind of priest – He’s the guarantor of a better covenant.
Lord willing, next time we’ll take a more detailed look into how this is a better covenant. But right now, doesn’t this sound better? Jesus is the Guarantor of a better covenant. He is the way and the truth and the life. He makes all things new. He is strong when we are weak. He provides the grace we need in the time that we need grace.
Today let’s thank Him for being the Guarantor of a better way.