We are at the midpoint of the author of Hebrew’s discourse on the high priesthood of Jesus, which spans Hebrews 5:1 through 10:18. As we open chapter 8, the author pauses to sum up what he has just taught: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven (Heb 8:1b). The kind of high priest he refers to is that after the order of Melchizedek, considered in detail in chapter 7, which we have already seen is an exposition of Psalm 110. In this summary statement the author brings together the two aspects of this important Messianic Psalm which display the Messianic figure as both a king, seated at the right hand of God (Ps 110:1) and an eternal priest (Ps 110:4).
Following this summation in verse 1, he goes on in the following five verses to introduce the superior nature of Jesus’s priestly ministry in three points: 1) the true heavenly tabernacle in which he ministers (8:2,5); 2) the sacrifice that provides the basis for his ministry (8:3-4), and 3) the covenant which he mediates which is enacted on better promises (8:6ff). Each of these points will be expanded upon in the coming chapters: 1) the greater heavenly tabernacle in chapter 9, 2) the greater sacrifice in chapters 9 and 10, and 3) the greater covenant in the remainder of chapter 8. We will detail each of these in the following 6 or 7 sermons, allowing today to serve merely as introduction to the three main points.