Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” While there are certainly many implications of this prophecy, one I think is often overlooked is Ezekiel prophesying of the transition from the old covenant to the new. The old covenant (or testament) was a series of laws given by God to the nation of Israel. Most of these laws were engraved on stone tablets, so the people’s hearts were committed to following what was engraved in stone.
The new covenant was ushered in by Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. He fulfilled all the old covenant. This new covenant was for all people, not only for the people of Israel. Instead of adhering to a series of laws, we are now commanded to simply love one another so we might reflect the love of our Creator.
Instead of laws written on stone, we now focus on loving people. Our hearts are no longer turned towards stone, but rather to the flesh and blood of others. On the night He would be arrested, one of the last things Jesus said to His disciples was, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” (John 13:34). Later that evening, He repeated Himself saying, “This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). When experts in the law had earlier questioned Him regarding which the most important law of all the laws was, Jesus took the opportunity to sum up the old covenant and then transition it to the new. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:34-40).
The commands of the new covenant are simple: love God with all your heart, and love others as Jesus has loved you. No longer are our hearts turned to stone tablets containing hundreds of laws and regulations. Jesus fulfilled every one of those requirements on our behalf when He gave His life and shed His blood in sacrifice for us. He commanded our hearts to be turned towards people. No longer were we to focus on stone, from now on we were to focus on the flesh and blood of humanity.
This is our call today. Our job is not to get hung up on the laws of an old covenant that was never made with us in the first place. The old covenant was for ancient Israel. It was made to establish those people as a country and to prepare the way for Christ to bring a new covenant for all peoples. Our mission is to tell everyone about this new covenant. In this way, we demonstrate the love of Jesus for us and allow others to share in that love. We are people of the new covenant, and this covenant is great news for all people. Let’s shine His light and share the love of Jesus with everyone we meet.