This weekend I witnessed the exchanging of vows from the front row. Along with my wife, we had the best seats in the house. The place of honor given to us because it was our daughter who was promising “to have and to hold from this day forward . . . to love and to cherish . . . as long as you both shall live.”
Along with the traditional vows, my daughter and son-in-law had also each composed their own personal pledges to one another. My son-in-law’s brought me to tears . . . nothing like hearing a fine young man articulating his love for your daughter. My daughter’s reminded me of the gospel as she pledged her undying devotion to her husband while acknowledging they were both flawed . . . committing to him not because he was perfect, but because she had purposed. They both promised great promises to each other. Promises founded on their whole-hearted determination . . . promises to be realized through God’s abundant grace and enabling.
Their promises to each other came to mind as I was reading in Hebrews this morning. There I was reminded of another promise . . . a better promise . . . and the Bondsman who guarantees it.
. . . 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.'”
This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. (Hebrews 7:21-22 ESV)
I’ve been reading of Jesus unique, eternal priesthood. One not rooted in Aaron’s duties under the Mosaic Law, but one founded on the mysterious priesthood of Melchizidek. A priesthood established “not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life” (7:16). And not only is His priesthood superior, but so too is the “law” under which He operates. Not the law of blessing for obedience and cursing for failure, but the law of grace and life because of a better covenant . . . because of a better promise.
And I was taken this morning with Jesus being “the guarantor” of that better promise. The original word literally means surety or sponsor. Barnes’ comments on the term evoked the old awe-o-meter . . . “It properly means, a bondsman; one who pledges his name, property, or influence, that a certain thing shall be done. When a contract is made, a debt contracted, or a note given, a friend often becomes the security in the case, and is himself responsible if the terms of the contract are not complied with.”
Jesus is the guarantor . . . that “friend” who determines to become the security for what God has promised. Jesus is the bondsman, bringing all His divine resources to bear to ensure that what the Father has said would be possible, would be.
Not that the Son needs to make good on the Father’s promise. Instead, by His finished work on the cross, and through His present work as seeking Shepherd, and because of His eternal work as interceding High Priest, He guarantees that those who are called into covenant relationship will be able to fully enter into the promise.
People of promise not because of who we are or what we’ve done, but because of who He is and what He has done.
Blessed beyond blessing as those who have been brought into covenant relationship despite who they are . . . apart from what they’ve done. But made His eternal Bride because of His unfailing determination to do the Father’s will for the Father’s glory.
All praise to our Bondsman of a better promise!
Because of abounding grace . . . for His eternal glory.