February 6, 2022

Blessed Assurance

Passage: Hebrews 10:19-25

A tightrope walker once strung a cable across Niagara Falls all the way from the American to the Canadian side.  There were about 5000 people who witnessed the spectacle as he walked back and forth.  Each time when he reached his destination, there were shouts of, “Again!  Again!”  Later his confidence grew so much that he carried objects as he crossed over on the tightrope.  Later in the day he did something no one thought was possible.  He took a wheelbarrow to the edge and started to push it to the other side.  People held their breaths, but as the tightrope walker touched the other side there was applause like never before.  When the crowd quiet down, the hero asked in a loud voice, “Do you think I can push a person across in this wheelbarrow?”  “Yes, you can!” and “You're the greatest!”, it came from the people.  Then the tightrope walker to the astonishment of all the people asked, “May I please have a volunteer?”  It didn't take long before all the people left and the excitement of the day was over.  You see, they witnessed the assurance of a man who believed in what he did, but that wasn't their assurance.  I think you will agree with me that this story reflects something of the relationship many Christians have with their Lord.  They say they trust Him, but the question is, “How far will their trust go?”  It reminds me so much of what happened when Jesus had many people flocking together to hear Him speak, but when He told them about the implications of discipleship, their excitement wore off.  You know my friends, there's a sad reality – so many who followed Jesus dropped out the race of life.  When asked they most often reply, “I'm not so sure if things will work out in the end as I thought.”  Isn't it true that with everything going on in our world pessimism is something that grows more and more in human hearts.  A man said to me some time ago, “Soon it will be game over with this world and there will be nothing after that.” 

Earlier in this chapter the author of Hebrews showed some frustration, because of the insufficiency of the priests of the Old Testament, who again and again brought sacrifices to God, but it could never met the standard.  Old Testament scholars tells us that hundreds of animals were killed on sacrificial days.  The people of Israel came to seek God's favour – they all had a longing to have access to their God, but they were kept at a distance.  You see, the altar in the Most Holy Place was inaccessible.  The sins of their forefathers, their own sins and the sins of their children kept them at a distance.  There was the long list of charges against them that always stood between themselves and God.  All the prophets brought that reality to them, “This is what the Lord says, 'I have this against you.'”  But you see, that wasn't only a charge against Israel.  It echoed throughout centuries and it still echoes in our time – “You are disqualified, because of your guilt!”  What do you think is the opposite of what we read in Romans 8: 1? - “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  For those who aren't in Christ Jesus there is only condemnation and doubt and unrest.

Hebrews 10: 19-25 gives the most wonderful assurance that this world can ever hear – the Blessed Assurance in Christ.  First we see that in Him 1 We Have Bold Confidence To Come Into God's Presence.  We read in verses 19 and 20, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body.”  What the Hebrews author wanted to bring across was, “Before Jesus Christ everything was dead and old; sacrificial animals could never atone for the sins of the world.  It came through the blood of Jesus.”  He was and is the only One Who could claim, “See, I make all things new.”  Revelation 21: 5  Commentator, John MacArtur points out that the word “new”, which is “prosphatos” in the Greek, is used only in verse 20 in this passage.  Its original meaning is “freshly slaughtered.”  Because Jesus became the “freshly slaughtered” sacrifice, He is the new way, the only way to the Father.  You know my friends, there are so many messages that confuse people in our world – messages like “It doesn't matter what religion you follow, all roads lead to the same place” or “You can have a combination of ancient eastern meditation and Christianity – it all will bring you to the same understanding.”  No my friends, the curtain could only be penetrated by Jesus.  He broke through heaven for us, when He opened the way to the Father.  And that was only through His blood.  There is truth above our comprehension in the words, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanse you from all unrighteousness.”  In 1989 a woman by name Vera Bajenski came to an understanding what the blood of Jesus is worth.  She and her husband received a call that their son was involved in a motor cycle accident.  They rushed to the scene and learned that their son just passed.  There was blood on the pavement next to his body and a worker came and covered it with dirt.  Her immediate reaction was to yell at the worker, “That is precious blood; its my son's blood.”  And then it hit her – there was blood that was far more precious.  The blood God the Father witnessed flowing from His Son's body.  And immediately Vera had a feeling of peace in her heart as she thought, “The blood of Jesus was shed for this moment of my son's death too.”  There is something that will always place Christianity above all other religions – the blood of Jesus.  In His blood we have confidence that our sins have been atoned for.  And the way to the Father is open.

What a Blessed Assurance it is to know 2 We Have Jesus As Lord?  We read in verses 21 and 22, “...and since we have a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God...”  Jesus came to take the office of priest to another level – a level that can never be exceeded.  He became the Priest Who gave the ultimate sacrifice the Father accepted.  When Jesus cried out, “It is finished”, He affirmed that He gave what the Father asked for.  And by saying, “...since we have a great Priest over the house of God...” the author of Hebrews wanted to affirm, “Our great Priest” took away the disqualification for eternal life that was written against us.”  But then my friends...each day of our lives we have Jesus we can look up to.  He is the One Who accompanies us through all life's challenges.  In any time of need or insecurity we can go to Him.  Because we can hear so vividly what He told the disciples, “I remember, I am always with you till the end of the age.”  2005 American Idol winner Carrie Underwood had a song, “Jesus take the wheel.” It's about her travelling on an icy road and when the vehicle started to spin out of the control, in a flash she turned to Jesus asking Him to take the wheel.  She had His presence – that was her assurance and comfort.  Do you have the same assurance and comfort, knowing – “No matter what, in the Lord, my life is steadfast.”  Let's live with the confidence Jesus, our Great Priest, bring us.