It’s easy to get caught up in the darkness of the times in which we live. I’m not going to lie, it’s easy for me to find myself distraught over the news of the day. Our country is fractured and it appears to be getting worse. Even though Christ-followers are supposed to seek peace among everyone, there seem to be vast numbers who desire anything but peace. Or they want peace, but only on their terms.
My point being, it’s easy to let the overwhelming nature of the world we live in dominate our thinking and our worldview. If we’re not careful, it doesn’t take long for us to start looking at the world through the worldview of devastation, fear, anger, anxiety, frustration and all the things our news outlets are designed to create in us. It’s easy to think, when you hear the stats about people leaving the church and the marginal, at best, faith of those who haven’t left that this is the worst it’s ever been.
But is it really the worst? I guess it might be. You could make arguments about the effect of technology and the 24 second news-cycle that dominates the world. But, when it comes to being a Christian, is this the worst it’s ever been? Again, there are arguments to be made that it’s difficult. It may in fact be more difficult to be a Christ-follower in a post-Christian country than to be a Christian in a non-Christian country. But still, we have it pretty good.
What’s my point in all this? Sure, things are difficult, but we’d be lying to ourselves if we really thought those who have gone before us haven’t had to endure similar challenges in their faith. And that’s what the author wants us to think about today. Remember your leaders who have gone before you, the ones who taught you. Look at the ones who endured to the very end and set an example for you in the faith. Then imitate their faith. Make your faith look like theirs. They faced difficulty but didn’t give up. The were oppressed and persecuted, but died proclaiming Christ. Remember them and imitate them.
Put your focus where their focus was. Their focus was not on all the things that were going wrong around them, their focus was on Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
I do think we can argue that no culture has gone through such a rapid change like the world has in the last 6-12 years. On January 9th, 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone. There was the Blackberry before that, but the iPhone dominated the market in a short amount of time. Which led other companies to work hard to compete. And, it seems like that has led us to a decade of the fastest technological advancements in human history. It is safe to say the world is a much different place today than it was 12 years ago.
When things are changing at a pace that’s impossible to keep up with, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s easy to lose our focus. It’s easy to think that this whole Jesus thing is irrelevant. But, that’s simply not true.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. None of this change we are experiencing is a surprise to God. He knew what we would do. He knew how the steam engine would change things. He knew how electricity would change things. He knew how the printing press and the iPhone would change the world as we knew it.
But in all of that, Jesus is the same. Who he was before He came to earth is who he was on the earth is who He is today is who He will always be. His work on the cross in yesterday will never fade. His work as our great High priest and intercessor continues on. The work we await for “The Day” that is yet to come when His enemies will be made his footstool, is still coming.
The world is changing, and if we let ourselves, we can get sidetracked trying to keep up with everything as it screams past our rearview mirror. But, if we follow the lead of those who have gone before us and keep our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, the alpha and omega, the author and finisher, well, no matter what changes come our way, we can be certain that Jesus is the answer.
Jesus is always the answer, because the problem is sin which is the fruit of rebellion. It doesn’t matter what technology we have at our disposal we will find a way to use it to enhance our rebellion against God. While it might look like the world is full of new problems that the church doesn’t seem to have an answer to, that’ simply not the case. We have the answer, it’s Jesus. Jesus is the answer to the human condition. And He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.