Across the Pastor’s Desk: Hear the word of God’s assurance
Published 8:00 pm Friday, October 1, 2021
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Don Rose
Many believe that the Letter to the Hebrews was written to second generation Jewish Christians who had lost some of their zeal and excitement for their faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus had not returned to usher in the fullness of the kingdom of God as had been expected, the society was in turmoil and the land was at war. It would have seemed as if Jesus and his message had not made any difference, and these believers must have been wondering if they had made the wrong move to follow Jesus. It is to this context that the Letter to the Hebrews was written as a word of argument for the supremacy of Jesus the Christ over all things and to encourage the hearers and readers to be strengthened in their faith in the promises that they had received. They definitely needed encouragement as they could not always see the rule of Christ being present in the world around them. The writer encourages them to see with the power of the Holy Spirit beyond what the world saw to know that the crucified one was now in fact the exalted one and that his reign has already begun and they are a part of it.
Jump ahead almost 2,000 years and it would appear that many within the community of faith find themselves in nearly the same circumstances as those to whom this letter was first addressed. Life in every arena is in distress as the pandemic has touched the whole world. There appear to be few signs that all things are under Christ’s rule and that the Savior makes a difference in life, from its smallest expression to its greatest. People do not seem to have much zeal or excitement for their faith in the one through whom they have received the promise of forgiveness, new life and salvation. Lives are lived as if the powers and the forces of this world have not been defeated but rather now have the final say.
These days call for hearing once again the words of assurance for God’s children as shared in the Letter to the Hebrews. Many will have opportunity to hear readings from this letter in worship over the next several weeks. As you listen to the reading, hear it not as a report of the past, but rather as a letter of promise, encouragement and support for people today. In it receive the word that helps you to see the reign of Christ even now and to be equipped to confidently proclaim that good news to your world. These are living words of a living God who would speak to you and inspire you in your everyday life and experience. By the work of the Spirit in you, listen carefully.
Don Rose is a pastor at Mansfield and United Lutheran churches.