December 27, 2017
READ: Jeremiah 31:31-34
I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people (v.33).
It was a cold December when my father’s health began to dramatically fail. The joy of Christmas was a bit muted Two weeks later on his ninetieth birthday, my dad went to be with his Saviour. There were tears of grief, but there was also joy. My father had been set free from the ravages of disease. And when he took his last breath, he enjoyed a truly new day in Jesus’ presence!
As we celebrate Advent and the mystery of Christ coming to earth, we see a shadow—the shadow of the cross—amid the joy and light of the season. We recognise that Jesus’ birth was part of God’s plan that would ultimately lead to His death. And Jeremiah’s prophecy several hundred years before (Jeremiah 31:31-34) pointed to a new covenant that God would establish through Christ.
During days of destruction for Judah, Jeremiah prophesied a time when God would “make a new covenant with [His] people” (v.31) and—ultimately—all those who would one day believe in Jesus. This new covenant would resolve the problem of human sinfulness by not only “[forgiving] their wickedness” and forgetting their sin (v.34), but actually placing God’s “instructions deep within them” and writing “them on their hearts” (v.33).
As the writer of Hebrews declares, this is possible because Jesus was “given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood” (8:6). Although the priesthood graciously revealed God to His people, through the coming of Jesus we’re transformed by the Holy Spirit indwelling us and working within us when we receive Christ as Saviour (Romans 7:6).
Because of the new covenant, we can experience joy in the midst of pain and sorrow—for Jesus by His Spirit is within us and our future with Him is secure!
365-day plan: 1 John 5:1-21
Read 1 Cor. 11:25 and 2 Cor. 3:6 and think about what it means to live within God’s new covenant.
How has God’s new covenant in Jesus made it possible for you to experience joy even during trials? What does it mean for you to have the Holy Spirit working within you?