The Same Yesterday, Today, Forever!Fr. Barnabas Powell
“I’m bored!” Those two words would get me in deep trouble when I was a kid! My mother would have none of that. “Bored, you say. Well, there’s no reason to be bored. Here’s a broom. Go sweep the basement out!”
I learned my lesson pretty quick!
But we humans are easily bored, or distracted, or easily confused. Modern communication theory says that the average American needs to hear a new piece of information at least 12 times before they assimilate the new information. However, there is a HUGE difference between boredom or monotony, and solid faithfulness, dependability, and confidence.
And that’s where our Epistle Lesson takes us today in Hebrews 13:7-16:
Brethren, remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their lives, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited their adherents. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” These words by the Apostle Paul to a group of Hebrew Christians considering abandoning their Christian faith to return to Judaism speak volumes to you and me today as people who have a great treasure of Faith. These Hebrews were suffering for their choice to embrace Jesus as the Christ and they were being persecuted and persuaded to leave the Faith and return to their old ways. And St. Paul writes the whole book of Hebrews to tell them that it would be a mistake to abandon their faith!
How similar our own day when the religious commitment of many are shrinking and those who say they have no faith connection at all are growing.
So, what’s the answer? St. Paul gives us the timeless faithfulness of our Lord Jesus as the key to not only keeping our faith, but maturing in our faith as well. He tells these wavering souls that what they have in Christ is “BETTER” than anywhere they may go to outside Christ. He also tells them it is “BETTER” to suffer with Christ now because this present life isn’t our eternal home! To confuse the “now” with the “forever” is the greatest mistake humans ever make! It’s always a mistake to trade the eternal for the temporary. Always!
Today, as we move through this new year, you are going to face temptations to confuse the “now” with the “forever.” You are going to be tempted to forget that Jesus is both “now” and “forever” and being intimately connected with Him makes you free to face whatever life throws at you! It’s keeping His “foreverness” in front of you at all times that protects you and your life from the temporary stumbles, plants your life on the solid foundation of His wisdom, and keeps you being Orthodox on Purpose!