Jeremiah 30–33 stands out in its optimistic view of Israel’s future. The high point of this section (31:31‑34) is the announcement that the Lord God will form a new covenant with his people.
The key affirmation of the Sinai covenant was, “I will be their God, and they will be my people” (31:33; see also Exod 6:7). The relationship between God and his people envisioned in the Sinai Covenant was surrounded by laws chiseled in stone and a priestly class in charge of all religious institutions and activities. The new covenant would differ from the old in one primary way: It would no longer be external to the worshipers, but would now be written on their hearts (Jer 31:33). The great defect of the old covenant was that it lacked the power to enable people to do what it commanded (Rom 8:3).
The new covenant, by contrast, would be internalized through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ezek 36:24‑27). Thus, it wouldbecome possible for people everywhere (not just a select few) to fulfill God’s covenant plan for life as summed up in the two “Great Commandments” (Matt 22:35‑40): “You must love the Lord your God” (Deut 6:5) and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev 19:18). The new covenant would achieve the goal that the old one pointed to, but could not reach: creating new persons and a new community. The goal is a deep transformation of sinners, beginning with forgiveness of sins and culminating in a holiness exemplified by good works (Eph 1:4; 2:8‑10).
This passage points toward Jesus of Nazareth, whose death would seal this new covenant. Jesus applied the new covenant to himself when he instituted the communion ritual (Matt 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; see also 1 Cor 11:25; 1 Cor 3:6). Jesus’ death made him the mediator of the covenant for whoever believes in him (Heb 8:8‑12; ch 9). Christians commemorate that reality each time they take communion. According to the NT, all believers in Jesus Christ will know him directly by the activity of the Holy Spirit, whose indwelling has been made possible through the sacrifice of Christ. They will know him personally and experience him powerfully, as only a few did in OT times.
Isa 11:1‑9; 54:13‑15
1 Cor 11:23‑26
2 Cor 3:6‑18