The question then is how are we to live our finite fourscore and ten lives in this knowledge. This opening part of chapter 13 in the letter to the Hebrews gives us some insights into that question.
This truth is at the core of our Christian belief. We believe, as scripture tells us, that Jesus is the Word through which all things came into being from the very beginning. We believe that he came into our humanity as one of us, suffered and died on the cross for our salvation. We believe that he will come again on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead. And we believe that we will live with him forever in the heavenly kingdom. Yes, Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The question then is how are we to live our finite fourscore and ten lives in this knowledge. This opening part of chapter 13 in the letter to the Hebrews gives us some insights into that question. We are told to live in mutual love for one another, to never neglect hospitality. Why? Because, “for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (verse 2) The exhortations here continue and are very practical. We are to “remember those in prison.” The author of Hebrews is, of course, speaking here of those who are imprisoned for their faith at that time. But we are to remember those who are in prison today as well. For Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. We are to remember those in prison today for they are in great need of God’s love. It is that alone that will bring conversion to wounded souls.
We are exhorted here as well to honor our marriages by keeping them pure. And we are counseled, very wisely here, to “Keep our lives free from the love of money and to be content with what we have…” (verse 5) How can we do this? We can do this only if we remember and believe what God promises; “that he will never leave us, or forsake us.” In our own times, in this extremely materialistic world, these exhortations often rub us the wrong way. Our times are marked by relativism and the deification of the self. Freedom has been turned into licence and wealth has become an obsession for both those that have and those who have not. Those who have want more and consider it a moral right. Those who have not consider wealth the greatest of evils, yet they demand their share of it. It is as if money has become the supreme good, instead of God. It is an idol, nothing more, nothing less.
Because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, his call to us to live in accord with God’s will remains the same yesterday and today and forever. Jesus Christ is the image of the self-emptying God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1-3) Jesus Christ is the One who emptied himself on the cross for our salvation. The Holy Spirit is this self-emptying God’s presence in us today, still pouring his graces into our souls, our lives in every moment. He is the One we long to see in the face, the One we hope to be with forever in the world to come.
Lord, because you are the same yesterday and today and forever, we believe that you are with us in all situations and at all times. We believe that your love never changes for us. You are that constant love that our hearts yearn for throughout our long pilgrimage home to you. Without you there is nothing. With you, everything takes on infinite meaning and purpose. Because you are the same we can be confident in your love and your grace. Help us to live our lives openly in this faith. We prays, as always, confident in the love, the grace and the power of the name, Jesus. Amen!
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