Jesus’ Death Made God’s Will and Testament Valid (Hebrews 9:16-18)
“In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood” (Hebrews 9:16-18)
Obtaining a family inheritance only comes after the death of the family member and after the will is read. The will provides the guideline for how the inheritance is to be dispersed. The will’s originator is the one who dictates this by creating a last will and testament so that their wishes are known and honored. This is a legal binding contract and it is never put into effect before the death of the individual, although it exists in legal form before death. The same is true of the both the Old and New Covenants. They were put into effect after death, and always with blood.
This is an amazing truth about the Covenant we enjoy through Jesus. His death put the will of God into effect and made it legally binding and in operation. It is important for us to know what this Last Will includes so that we will understand what we have inherited through Jesus. To do this we must look at what Jesus said His mission, or God’s will for His life was. Luke describes this perfectly. “The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:17-21).
Jesus came to preach the gospel, free the prisoners, restore sight, release the oppressed and announce the Lord’s favor to mankind. This was God’s will concerning the life of Jesus. He came to bring us into fellowship with the Father through the gospel. The good news is that our sins are forgiven and paid for through Jesus, and that we have been redeemed and purchase back by His blood.
He has freed the prisoners. Jesus’ blood paid for the debt that sin held against us. He died as a ransom for us so that we wouldn’t (Mark 10:45, Hebrews 9:15). We have been rescued from bondage.
He restores the sight of the blind. This happens in a spiritual sense as well as in the physical, because we now can see and understand the Father by looking at Jesus (John 1:18, II Corinthians 4:6, Colossians 1:15;19, Hebrews 1:1-3). The fullness of God dwelt in Jesus and He has shown us an exact representation of God the Father.
He has released the oppressed. No longer are we subjected to the whims of the sinful nature, but we have been freed from it and given a new, born again spirit, fashioned after Jesus’ in righteousness and holiness (Romans 6:6, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 4:24).
He was sent to announce the favor of the Lord. This was the message of the angels at Jesus’ birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14). God was in the world, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer holding man accountable for his sins. Jesus’ entire life was a proclamation of this amazing truth!
Just as Jesus declared in the synagogue that this Scripture had been fulfilled at their hearing, Jesus’ death completed and put into effect the will of God. Eugene H. Petersen said it best in the Message version, “Like a will that takes effect when someone dies, the new covenant was put into action at Jesus' death. His death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, canceling the old obligations and accompanying sins, and summoning the heirs to receive the eternal inheritance that was promised them. He brought together God and his people in this new way” (Hebrews 9:16-17 Message). Jesus’ death made God’s will and testament valid and in operation. He guarantees it with the precious blood of our Savior Jesus Christ, so that we who hope in God have received the inheritance eternally promised to us.