Sermon No: 166523-Covenants - Part 11c - The New Covenant



SERMON TOPIC: Covenants - Part 11c - The New Covenant

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 19 June 2022

Topic Groups: COVENANTS, NEW COVENANT, HEBREWS

Sermon synopsis: While the New Covenant has greater benefits, it also has greater penalties for those who reject it.

Heb 12:25 (NIV) See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?

COVENANTS

PART 10C: THE NEW COVENANT

When a newer will or testament is made, the older one is automatically made obsolete.

Heb 8:13 (NIV) By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Not only is our covenant a new one; it is a better one.

Heb 7:22 (NIV) … Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

Heb 8:6 (NIV) … the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one …

The very fact that God established a New Covenant, indicates to us that there is something lacking or “wrong” with the Old Covenant.

Heb 8:7 (NIV) For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.

The Old Covenant

could not impart life.

could not clear the conscience.

couldn’t save us – it could only expose our sinfulness.

brought a curse to those who couldn’t keep its conditions.

focused on external rules and regulations.

presented God as somewhat distant.

was a temporary measure until the “new order”.

has a faithful servant as a mediator.

The New Covenant

imparts life.

clears the conscience.

compensates for the weakness of our sinful nature, by providing a perfect sin offering for us.

redeems us from the curse.

focuses on an internal change not outward ritual.

allows a greater intimacy with God.

is permanent.

has a greater mediator – the faithful Son.

A PRIEST: represents the people to God.

A PROPHET: represents God to the people.

Jesus has 3 offices - prophet, priest and king.

PAST: During his ministry he operated as a prophet representing God to the people.

PRESENT: Currently he operates as our high priest representing the people to God in heaven.

FUTURE: After his second coming his will reign as king.

The Messianic Psalm 110 of David predicted that the future Messiah king (Son of David) would also be a priest.

Psalm 110:1-4 (NIV) The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet… The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

Jesus fulfilled this prophecy.

Heb 6:19-20 (NIV) …. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

The OT priest would represent the people to God.

Heb 5:1 (NIV) Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

The high priest was both to:

offer a sacrifice for sin (Lev 7:2)

intercede on behalf of the people (Num 16:47-48).

As the New Covenant priest, Jesus:

offers a sacrifice for sin

Heb 7:27 (NIV) Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

intercedes for the people

Heb 7:25 (NIV) Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

The OT high priest was both:

appointed

anointed

APPOINTED: the high priesthood was not something that could be taken upon by self-appointment.

Heb 5:4 (NIV) No one takes this honour upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.

Likewise, Jesus was appointed by God to be high priest and is quoted as fulfilling Psalm 110.

Heb 5:5-6 (NIV) So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

Heb 5:10 (NIV) … and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

ANOINTED: Before he could assume his priestly duties, Aaron was anointed to indicate his selection by God.

Ex 40:13 (NIV) Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest.

‘Christ’ (Greek) and ‘Messiah’ (Hebrew) both mean “the Anointed One.” The oil used to anoint the Old Testament priests was a shadow of the Holy Spirit which was the real anointing Christ received.

Acts 10:38 (NIV) how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Jesus is greater than Aaron because:

He has a better order of priesthood (the order of Melchizedek)

His intercession is superior because:

he is sinless

of his indestructible life

He serves in a better tabernacle

He offered a better sacrifice

In the Old Covenant “only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year” (Heb 9:7, NLT). The way into God’s very presence was not open to all under the previous covenant. God had to be accessed by the priests and prophets:

Heb 9:8 (NIV) The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.

When Jesus died the curtain veil in the temple that led to the Most Holy Place was torn.

Matt 27:50-51 (NIV) And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

God tore the veil – Matthew records that it was torn “from top to bottom”. At a height of 18 metres no man could have done that. Also, it was far too thick for a man to tear (multi-threaded material the width of a man’s hand).

THE TORN VEIL (CURTAIN)

God was showing that the way into the God’s presence was now opened. Our relationship with God was broken by sin which led to Adam and Eve being driven from God’s presence. Jesus restored our relationship with God.

Rom 5:10 (NIV) For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son…

GREATER ACCESS TO GOD

The tearing of the curtain was symbolic of the sacrifice of Jesus’ body on the cross.

Heb 10:19-22 (NIV) Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

We have “confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus” because our sins which alienated us from a righteous God have been removed.

GREATER ACCESS TO GOD

Because we have forgiveness of sin, the tearing of the curtain which led into the area where the sin sacrifice was made – is also symbolic of the fact that there is no longer a need for sacrifice.

Heb 10:15-18 (NIV) The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

NO MORE SACRIFICE NEEDED

Jesus is not only a priest but a prophet. He said of himself, “A prophet is honoured everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.” (Mark 6:4, NLT).

As a prophet, Jesus:

preached salvation and announced the kingdom of God (Matt 4:17).

Exercised discernment

John 4:19 (ESV) The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.”

performed miracles

John 6:14 (ESV) When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

John 9:17 (ESV) So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

predicted the future

E.g. the Olivet discourse (Matthew 24)

A prophet represented God to the people. They were the mouthpiece of God and would often start their prophetic utterance with phrases like “Thus says the Lord…”

Likewise, as a prophet, Jesus would be the mouthpiece of the Father.

John 12:49 (NIV) For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.

Jesus is not just a prophet - but greater than the Old Covenant prophets.

Heb 1:1-3 (ESV) Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature…

As the Word of God, Jesus does not simply speak the Word of God as a mere human prophet, but is the Word made flesh (John 1:14). He is the final word, the ultimate revelation of God.

The comparison with Abel and Christ again highlights the difference between the Covenants of Law and Grace.

Heb 12:24 (NIV) to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Abel’s blood cried out to God from the earth.

Gen 4:10 (NIV) The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

Jesus’ blood speaks from heaven. John hears the heavenly court sing a new song to the Lamb of God, saying, “… because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. “ (Rev 5:9, NIV)

Abel’s blood demands justice and vengeance on Cain for his murder.

Jesus’ blood cries out with forgiveness for those - whose sins sent him to the cross.

Matt 26:28 (NIV) This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Abel’s shed blood resulted in a curse

Gen 4:11 (NIV) “Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”

Jesus’ blood freed us from the curse.

Gal 3:13 (NASB) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”

The curse resulted in Cain becoming a “restless wanderer”.

Gen 4:2 (NIV) “… You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

Likewise, those who follow “the way of Cain” (Jude 11) and try earn salvation through their own efforts, are doomed to a spiritual restless wandering.

In contrast, Jesus gives us “rest for our souls”…

Matt 11:28-29 (NIV) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

… and rest from our attempts to earn salvation by works:

Heb 4:9-10 (NIV) There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.

Hebrews 4 shows that Jesus is greater than Joshua, because through him we enter the true rest (from works).

The New Covenant has better promises than the Old Covenant.

Heb 8:6 (NIV) But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

Now the Old Covenant blessings were generally related to earthly financial and economic prosperity (crops & livestock), health, the fruit of the womb (i.e. offspring), military prowess and political peace. Moses tells Israel:

Deut 28:2-5 (NIV) “All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock - the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.”

OLD COVENANT BLESSINGS

Deut 28:6-11 (NIV) “You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you … The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity - in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground - in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.”

Deut 28:12-13 (NIV) The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.”

There are some who try and apply the Old Covenant earthly blessings and promises made to Israel, to the church (replacement theology). But:

Those earthly blessings are part of a former (obsolete) covenant.

The blessings come for full obedience and sinful man cannot keep the covenant.

Along with the blessings come corresponding curses for non-compliance.

So if you think the Old Covenant blessings are for you, remember that if you do not fully keep the Law this is the part that applies to you:

Deut 28:38-45 (NIV) You will sow much seed in the field but you will harvest little, because locusts will devour it. 

COVENANT CURSES

 You will plant vineyards and cultivate them but you will not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them. You will have olive trees throughout your country but you will not use the oil, because the olives will drop off. You will have sons and daughters but you will not keep them, because they will go into captivity. Swarms of locusts will take over all your trees and the crops of your land. The foreigners who reside among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. They will lend to you, but you will not lend to them. They will be the head, but you will be the tail. 

COVENANT CURSES

 All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you.

Don’t think the curses are for Israel while the blessings are for the Church.

Gal 3:10 (NIV) For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

The New Covenant blessings are not earthly and material, but instead spiritual blessings:

Eph 1:3 (NIV) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

In context, the New Covenant blessings subsequently listed by Paul do not sound reminiscent of the earthly material blessings promised to Israel in the Old Covenant:

SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS

Righteousness & sanctification

4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Spiritual Adoption

In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS

Spiritual redemption

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Knowledge of his divine plan

9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment - to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS

Make us to be vessels that bring praise to God

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Assurance of salvation through the Holy Spirit and a guaranteed future inheritance.

13 … Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession …

The blessings Jesus lists in the Beatitudes are clearly spiritual blessings: *

theirs is the kingdom of heaven

they will be comforted (from mourning)

they will be filled (i.e. the thirst for righteousness)

they will be shown mercy

for they will see God

they will be called sons of God

great is your reward in heaven

The blessings Jesus promised are spiritual not material (like the Old Covenant).

Those who are persecuted, meek and gentle are blessed.

The last shall be the first.

The leaders are servants to those they lead.

The worldly value system does not consider the meek, those who mourn, the poor in spirit and the persecuted to be blessed. This is because often people in these categories do not have material and worldly blessing.

But Jesus promises them spiritual blessings which are of eternal value and don’t just offer a temporary short-term benefit.

BETTER PROMISES

FREEDOM vs SLAVERY

Mount Sinai of the Old Covenant speaks of spiritual slavery, while the heavenly Jerusalem (i.e. Mount Zion) speaks of the freedom of the New Covenant.

Rom 4:24-31 (NIV) These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother… Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

The next passage contrasts the Old and New Covenants. The Old Covenant represented by Mount Sinai is shown as intimidating, unapproachable, impersonal and associated with fear and judgement:

Heb 11:18-21 (NIV) You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”

FEAR

But Jesus and the New Covenant are linked to the heavenly Mount Zion, which was a place associated with rejoicing and “righteous men made perfect”:

Heb 11:23-24 (NIV) But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant…

While the Old Covenant was written on tablets of stone; the New Covenant is written on our hearts.

2 Cor 3:3 (NIV) You show that you are a letter from Christ … written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

While the Old Covenant is the letter of the Law (which pronounces death); the New Covenant is of the Spirit (who gives life).

2 Cor 3:6 (NIV) He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The Old Covenant brought death and condemnation – yet was still glorious. The New Covenant brings righteousness and comes with even greater glory.

2 Cor 3:7-9 (NIV) Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!

While the Old Covenant was transitory, the New Covenant is eternal.

2 Cor 3:10-13 (NIV) For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.

2 Cor 3:14-15 (NIV) But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.

... a veil of moral obstinacy, which prevents them from seeing the disappearance of the old covenant, as effectually as the veil on the face of Moses prevented them from seeing ... the disappearance of the transitory lustre on the face of Moses. *

2 Cor 3:16 (NIV) But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Moses removed the veil when he went into the tabernacle to speak with the Lord (Ex 34:35); so the veil is taken away when New Covenant believers enter God’s presence.

NO MORE VEILED MINDS

2 Cor 3:17-18 (NIV) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

The indwelling Spirit then becomes for us a law written on our hearts. He is in us to guide us and be our “law.” It isn’t that the Holy Spirit replaces the written law, but completes and fulfills the work of the written law in our hearts. The Spirit gives life, and with this spiritual life, we can live out the law of God. *

GREATER PENALTY

The sobering reality is that while we have a far greater covenant, it carries with it a greater penalty than the Old Covenant.

Heb 10:28-31 (NIV) Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

GREATER PENALTY

And so we are encouraged to persevere until the coming of Jesus:

Heb 10:35-39 (NIV) So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

ENCOURAGEMENT

Heb 10:23-24 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

We are encouraged to:

hold unswervingly to the hope we profess

consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

not give up meeting together

encourage one another

ENCOURAGEMENT

What many don’t realise is that the promise to not give up fellowshipping was made to Christians who were being persecuted for their faith. Note the context:

Heb 10:32-34 (NIV) Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

Yet we have to use this Scripture to encourage Christians in a free country who are too lazy to fellowship.

The Hebrew Christians were being tempted to apostatize and give up fellowship because of persecution – and to return to the Old Covenant. But they are given a most severe warning:

Heb 10:26-27 (NIV) If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

GREATER PENALTY

So these Jewish readers are reminded again that the New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant and they should not return to the Old Covenant of Law, even in the face of persecution.

They are reminded that while the New Covenant has greater benefits, it also has greater penalties for those who reject it.

Heb 12:25 (NIV) See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?

GREATER PENALTY

The New Covenant has the promise of “a kingdom that cannot be shaken”.

Heb 12:26-27 (NIV) At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” * The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

We ought to respond with thankfulness and reverence:

Heb 11:28-29 (NIV) Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Do not, in light of God’s mercy and grace, forget that he is an awesome God (a consuming fire) who should be worshipped with reverence and awe.

COVENANT CLOTHING

The closest relative (kinsman redeemer) of Ruth’s late husband chose not to purchase the family’s field, nor to take Ruth as his wife.

Instead, he allowed the next-in-line relative, Boaz to acquire the land and marry Ruth. He yielded up his right to possession by removing his sandal and handing it to Boaz.

Hence the covenant Boaz makes is ratified by one party giving the other party one of his sandals.

Ruth 4:7-8 (NIV) (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.) So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.

COVENANT CLOTHING

When Jonathan made a covenant with David, he went even further than this and gave him his own clothing and weapons as a sign of their covenant.

1 Sam 18:3-4 (NIV) And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

Jonathan demonstrates his commitment to this solemn covenant by giving David his royal robe. In a symbolic sense, (especially as this practice was understood in ancient times) in the context of covenant, David is “putting on” Jonathan. David is taking on the identity of his covenant partner Jonathan. *

Rummel refers to an Akkadian document discovered at Ugarit in which Utrisharruma, a thirteenth–century king of Ugarit, makes a divorce settlement with his queen. The couple’s son, the crown prince, may go with his mother if he wants, but in that case he will abdicate his right to the throne. He must indicate this decision by leaving his clothes on the throne. *

There is a surrender of self-interest for the covenant partner.

When we remember that Jonathan would normally have succeeded Saul as Israel’s king, his friendship for David is especially impressive. The OT contains no finer example of what it means to be a friend. *

Ralph Davis comments:

Jonathan also stripped himself of his robe and gave it to David, as well as his war coat or armour, his sword, bow, and belt. All this was both significant and surprising; significant because the clothes signify the person and his position — hence Jonathan renounces his position as crown prince and transfers, so far as his own will goes, the right of succession to David.” **

Hughes writes:

.... Jonathan, the king’s son, stands humbly in his undergarment, while the shepherd boy dons the prince’s robe and armament. Jonathan’s act was one of honour, equality, and vulnerability. To wear the robe of a king was an immense honour, as testified by Haman’s fateful request to wear the Persian king’s robe and parade through the streets (cf. Esther 6:6, 7, 8, 9). Jonathan’s symbolic divestiture formally abolished David’s status as a shepherd and placed him side by side as an equal. His disrobing was a conscious display of vulnerability and real risk. *

Wearing the clothing of the other covenant party meant taking on their identity. So too, Jesus laid aside his royalty, took on our identity and was clothed in flesh.

Phil 2:6-8 (NIV) Who, being in very nature God … made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Heb 2:11, 14 (NIV) Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters… Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity…

David “put on Jonathan”

Jonathan gave up his rights to the throne

As David, a humble shepherd, gets to wear the robes of royalty because of the covenant love of Jonathan, likewise we bear the name of Christ.

1 Pet 4:16 (NIV) However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

As covenant partners with Jesus, what is our responsibility because of our new “clothes” and new identity?

To live in such a way that others see Christ’s life not ours. “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20), “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27) and “Christ, who is your life” (Col 3:4).

We must “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord,” our covenant partner (Col 1:10).




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