September 24, 2011

Hebrews 6:19-20 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

The Japanese and English divide the sentences differently here, which makes me need to use all of both verses. The thing that struck me just now about this was the image of the anchor. That image is used in several well-known hymns, but it has always seemed a little strange to me, since I’m not much of a boatman. However, the more I think about it, having experienced as much of life as I have and having watched so many other lives, the more sense it makes. Anchors are used to keep boats from drifting out of place, when winds and waves and currents would otherwise carry them away. Our lives are very much like that, with constant influences of one sort or another. We might have the best of intentions, but without an anchor of some sort, we will drift. The writer here speaks of the hope we have in Christ Jesus as the anchor we need to give us stability. The next part of the image is rather confusing to people today, because it speaks of the anchor “entering the veil.” Even Jews today aren’t that familiar with the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place in the temple in Jerusalem, because that temple was torn down in AD 70 by the Romans. The Most Holy Place was where the Ark of the Covenant stayed, signifying the presence of God Himself. It is of great significance that one of the events of Jesus’ death on the cross was that veil splitting in two from top to bottom. (Mark 15:38) The separation between God and man was breached, and it was initiated from above, that is, from God’s side. Our hope is anchored in the presence of God Himself, which is why it is sufficient to stabilize us no matter how great the storm.

I’ve been through a few storms myself, though in retrospect they don’t seem so severe. However, as a pastor I am constantly ministering to people who feel like they are in major storms, even if to an outside observer things might not seem so severe. The point is, I need to teach people about the anchor that is available to them and how to cling to it. Some people speak disparagingly of those who “cling to religion,” but the day will certainly come when they will change their tune, if not sooner, then too late. I need to teach believers just how big and glorious their hope is, so that they will understand how small their problems and obstacles are in comparison. I must not belittle their problems, but rather point them to Jesus and the promises God has given us.

Father, thank You for the hope that You have given me, which is for all who will believe. Help me communicate that hope more and more effectively, so that more and more people will take hold of it as their own, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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