Hebrews 7:18-19 (NIV) 18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
On verses 11-19: In approximately 15th century B.C., Moses introduces laws to govern the people of Israel. These laws are found in the first five books of the Old Testament, also known as the Pentateuch, and are sometimes called the law of Moses, or simply “the law”. The law of Moses stipulated that Israel’s priests, beginning with the first high priest Aaron, must come from the tribe of Levi. Yet along comes Jesus who breaks this mold in that:
Jesus is not a descendant of the tribe of Levi, but from the tribe of Judah (v13-14)
Jesus becomes a priest not because of his family ancestry but because of the indestructible life he lived (v16);
Jesus is named a priest not in the typical order of Aaron as stipulated in the law, but in the order of Melchizedek as prophesied in Psalm 110 (v11).
By recognizing Jesus as a priest despite him not being from the tribe of Levi or from the priestly order of Aaron, God was effectively changing the law (v12).
What can we learn from this? A major theme in the book of Hebrews is that the old system put in place by the law of Moses was not a perfect system. It could not make perfect those who used it to draw near to God (see for example Hebrews 10:1). But then Jesus comes and ushers in a new system, also known as a new covenant, that is better and more effective than the old (for example, see Hebrews 8:6; 9:13-14; 10:11-14). This new system established by Jesus does perfectly what the old system only did imperfectly: it provided full and complete cleansing of those who used it to draw near to God. When Jesus stepped in as our priest and sacrificed His body to pay for our sins, He made it possible for our sins to be paid for once and for all. In this way, Jesus opened “a new and living way” for us to draw near to God (Hebrews 10:20). As verses 18 and 19 say:
“18 The former regulation [referring to the law] is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
Here’s another way to illustrate what the writer of Hebrews is saying in these verses: imagine an old house with leaky, rusted pipes that deliver water in such a slow and ineffective way that when you turn on the sink, you get at best a few drops. Now imagine that those old pipes are replaced with a brand new and beautiful set of pipes that are made of a different and much stronger material and that deliver water with power and efficacy. That is a picture of the difference Jesus made. The law of Moses and the priestly order of Aaron are those old, rusted pipes. Jesus is that new set of pipes that God installed to make His living water far more accessible to His people.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You changed the game when You sent Jesus Christ to be our great high priest, not in the order of Aaron, but in the order of Melchizedek. Thank You that through Jesus Christ and His shed blood, You provided a new and better way by which we can draw near to You, be cleansed completely of our sins and be made perfect in Your sight. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!