6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
This verse is pivotal in the book of Hebrews. It shifts from the old economy to the new.
This verse sets forth three superiorities of Christ:
—a better ministry
—a better covenant
6 But now
“But” introduces a contrast between the Levitical priesthood and Christ’s superior priesthood. Now we have a priest with a “more excellent ministry.”
He [Christ] has obtained a more excellent ministry [service of God],
Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant, but Jesus mediates a “more excellent ministry” than an earthly ministry of the Levites. “Ministry” in the tabernacle references the work done there. The work there was never finished.
inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant,
The “excellent ministry” of Jesus was based on Him as the Mediator of a “better covenant” than the Mosaic Covenant (He 7:22). The superiority of His priestly service rests on a superior covenant.
Jesus is again mentioned as a Mediator in Hebrews 9:15; 12:24. A mediator stands between two parties and represents both. A priest is a mediator between men and God. However, the work of Jesus’ mediation in Hebrews is unilateral; He intercedes in one direction from God to us.
The “better covenant” is the whole Christian economy of grace. Christ is the Mediator of this covenant. All our blessings are secured by His High Priesthood.
which was established [enacted] on better promises.
The “better covenant” was established on “better promises.” The word “better” (occurring twice in this verse) focuses on the superiority of Christ and His ministry (He 1:4; 6:9; 7:7, 19, 22; 8:6; 9:23; 10:34; 11:16, 35, 40; 12:24). Both the covenant and promises will be developed in Hebrews 8:7–9:15.
All covenants rest on promises, both for mankind and God’s promises. Some are solely based on God’s promises and others are not. In the case of Christ, the covenant was established by God, not man. It was better because of its unconditional nature.
A superior workman produces a better product.
Jesus is the Mediator of a superior covenant or contract. He Himself is the pledge for this covenant. He is the person through whom the terms are carried out. He is the meeting place between man and God. This covenant was not like the old where it was conditioned on people carrying it out. In the case of Christ, He assumes the responsibility to fulfill all the terms of the covenant. Since this is true, He will achieve His ministry without fail. This is His present ministry on our behalf.
The shed blood of Christ is superior to the blood of animals. This means that His covenant is better than the Old Covenant. Our Lord’s ministry is “more excellent” than what the Old Testament presented. The Old Covenant became obsolete (He 8:13) because a newer covenant took its place.
Hebrews proclaims that Jesus is now the “Mediator of the new covenant” (He 9:15; 12:24), indicating that this covenant is for the church today as well as Israel. How can this be so if that covenant is for the tribes carried off in captivity, Israel and Judah (He 8:8)?
The ministry of Christ is superior because it is reality, not a type or temporal. The covenant of Christ is more excellent because it is absolute and not conditional, eternal and not temporal. The promises are better because they are spiritual, not earthly. This is the world of our Mediator.