Friday, September 08, 2006

Always on the Clock

I don't exercise like I should. I know, I just wrote about an exercise bike that was given to us and I still haven't gotten off my lazy rear to start riding it. But that is for another day. At times, I do get bitten by the workout bug. And when I do, watch out, because I dive right in to it. Maybe at times too hard, but that is for another day too.

It never fails. The day after I start exercising is excruciating. I know, duh! Of course it is. Those are the times when we press through the pain and keep going with the program. We're supposed to, anyway. But I don't. By the time my body aches have subsided and I can move my arms again, the desire that I had is gone. I should press through the lack of desire and keep going. But I don't. It's simply easier to be lazy and not work out. I fall away from the shape I want to be in because I won't endure the pain and work, and so it's easier to sit down and watch House on TV and eat popcorn.

Now, while I deal with the exercise bug spray of laziness, hear where I'm going with this today. The early church had problems of endurance, too. The book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians that were facing extremely hard times because of faith in their Messiah, Jesus Christ. Most Jews hated Christ, and hated anyone who was a Christ disciple. They, along with the Romans, made things very hard for the Christian believers. Just read the book of Acts and see the things they went through. From prison to whippings to stonings to beheadings, they felt the heat. And that heat was starting to get to them. Many were starting to feel that it was just easier to leave the faith and go back to Old Covenant Judaism. "If I just turn back to the Law, I won't have these people threatening me anymore."

That's when Mr. Unnamed Author wrote a divinely inspired letter to them that we call the book of Hebrews. It was written to encourage these hurting Christians to continue in the faith. It reasons that if one thought Judaism was good, Jesus has it beat on all points. He is better than the angels God used. He was better than Moses. He better than the human high priest. The blood he shed on the cross was better than than the blood of the millions of sacrificed bulls and lambs throughout their history. Jesus was simply superior, because absolutely everything God used in the Old Testament acted as a sign to point us to Christ.

If there is one main idea that Hebrews puts forward, I think that this would be it: Jesus knows what you are going through, and he cares. This writing tells us that he is a great High Priest that is touched by our struggles. He is "touched with the feelings of our infirmities". He knows what we have to endure. He knows our temptations. In fact, he experienced temptation, and came out sin-free. So now we can come to the Throne of Grace and he will give us what we need. You couldn't get that from a man acting as high priest, because he had his own problems. But, Jesus is better.

In the seventh chapter, the writer in comparing Jesus with the earthly high priest, makes this statement, from the Message paraphrase:

"He's there from now to eternity to save everyone who comes to God through him, always on the job to speak up for them." Heb. 7:25 MSG

You see, not only does Jesus know your stuff, but he is always on the clock! How many times have I had a sick kid at night and had to call the doctor, only to wait for him to call back because someone else had problems, or he had to wake up? With Christ, there is no calling back! There is no leaving a message hoping that Michael the Archangel will post a sticky-note on Jesus' desk! There is no heavenly voice mail telling you that Jesus is on the celestial back nine playing a round with the 12 apostles! He's right there. He hears you when you call. He sees your tears. And he has something for you. It's called grace, and it's God's strength when you are weak yourself! (see 2 Corithians 12:9)

Friends, don't let the adversity of life, and the struggles we face, whether that is persecution for faith in Jesus, or just life land punches, beat you down. You have a immense well of grace to draw from. Jesus is waiting. Won't you let him pour into you?

There is another part to this message, but you'll have to come back for it. Look for it this coming Monday, the five year anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

God bless!


ruthrap said...

you are so right, He never takes "time-off or time-outs" and dependability is one of His top priorities. There's no one or nothing we can rely on more, He never ceases to amaze me....He's the GREATEST! good job of bringing out some good points!

JimmyBob said...

I just finished writing a benediction for tomorrow's young adult class. Our topic is facing storms and crying out to God.

I hope you don't mind, but I wanted to share it with you as it relates to your post. It is a paraphrase of 1 Peter 5:8-11.

"Lord, help us to keep a cool head and stay alert in difficult times. We know that the Devil is poised to pounce on us and would like nothing better than to catch us sleeping. Help us to keep our guard up. We realize that we're not the only people who go through storms. Christians all over the world face persecution and hard times. So, help us to keep a firm grip on our faith.

"This suffering of our's won't last forever. You are a generous God with great plans for us in Christ - eternal and glorious plans! You will put us together and back on our feet again for good. You definitely get the last word! We know this for sure! Amen."