Today’s read grouped three portions of scripture in Jeremiah (23:1-8; 33:14-26; 31:27-40) because of their similar topic: the Messiah who will one day come to restore Israel. While the Jewish people of today are still looking for their Messiah, we believe He has already come; His name is Jesus!
Jeremiah tells us He will be a righteous branch from the line of David, fulfilling God’s promise that David would never fail to have a descendant on the throne (because Jesus will rule eternally!). Both Mary and Joseph were descendants of David, (Matthew 1, Luke 3). His name will be “The Lord our Righteousness” (Jehovah Tsidkenu), telling us that this Messiah will be God Himself (only God is called Jehovah). This alone should have caused the Jews in Jesus’ day to reconsider when He told them He was “I am” (John 8:58), instead of trying to stone Him for claiming to be God. Jesus becomes “our righteousness” as His sacrifice on the cross for our sin allows His righteousness to be applied to our account before God.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 is perhaps the most familiar of these passages. God says the days are coming when He will make a new covenant with the people of Israel, a covenant that will write the law on their hearts and minds, where the people will know Him personally (not just the priests), and whereby their sins would be forgiven and remembered no more. Jesus connected this passage with Himself at the Passover meal He shared with His disciples just before His crucifixion (Luke 22:19-20). He told them the bread was His body, given as a sacrifice and “this cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Of course, we read a lot about the new covenant in the New Testament. God’s promise given to His people through Jeremiah was fulfilled in Jesus, and His law is written on our hearts as the Spirit of God comes to indwell believers at salvation.
It seems easy for us to believe these things, from this perspective. We have the privilege of looking back, of having seen at least the beginning of these prophecies fulfilled, when Jesus came as Savior, although the full restoration is yet to come when Jesus returns as King. How great the Old Testament saints’ faith must have been, to trust God even when they did not yet see Him accomplish what He promised! And how sure and strong our faith should be, considering the two thousand years of history we’ve enjoyed since Christ came out of that grave and returned to the Father’s right hand – a history that has changed the world. Let us remain faithful to fulfill our part and keep telling the story until every detail is fulfilled and complete!