At a time of the shaking of the foundations, twelve promises of God from the Letter to the Hebrews that cannot be shaken or broken.
… now he (God) has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.Hebrews 12:26-27
These words were written around 65 AD by an unknown writer to a church, probably in Palestine, made up of Christians from a Jewish background. Their lives and their faith were being shaken up by severe persecutions, public abuse, confiscation of their property and for some, imprisonment (Hebrews 10:32-34). The letter was written to encourage them to stand fast in their Christian faith, for many among them were being tempted to give up on God entirely or to return to their original Jewish faith. Now that our lives, our Church life, our employment, our ability to meet are being shaken up by the onslaught of the corona virus, God wants to remind us of the twelve unshakable truths of his eternal Word, as “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul,” (Hebrews 6:19) in these stormy days.
- At our baptism we began a race, the race of life. The finish line the Lord desires for us is our entry into his heavenly home (Hebrews 12:1-4).
- In running this race we are to look to Jesus who ran the race before us. He is the pioneer and perfector of our faith, the purifier of our sins, and God’s last and best word of promise to us (Hebrews 1:1-4). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
- In this race we are strengthened by the prayers of the saints in heaven – all those ran the race before us. They are the great cloud of witnesses seated in the stadium in the stadium in which our race of life is run (Hebrews 12:1). We are also strengthened by the ministry of angels (Hebrews 1:14).
- Jesus died so he might destroy the one who has the power of death – the devil – so that we might be free from the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15).
- In our stormy days, and when we are all too aware of our weaknesses, we look to Jesus our great high priest, who sympathizes with us in our weakness for he has been tested as we are, in Gethsemane (Hebrews 5:7). Through him we “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need “(Hebrews 4:14-16).
- Indeed we have confidence to enter the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, by the blood of Jesus that tore through the veil of the temple. This is “the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh)” (Hebrews 10:19-20).
- We should look on all our sufferings and difficulties at the present time as our father’s discipline of us, his children, in order that we may share in his holiness. Without this holiness and pursuit of peace with everyone we will not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:5-14).
- Through prayer and the sacraments, we can even now be part of the Church (Ecclesia – the assembly of the first born – born in heaven) through the sprinkled blood of Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, part of the city of the living God (Hebrews 12:22-26).
- Faith in Jesus is indispensable – faith as the assurance of the things we hope for, our conviction of things not seen – faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:1-2 & 6).
- Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, we respond with thanksgiving and gratitude. In this way we offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29).
- By holding on in faith to the great unchangeable truths of our faith, we have a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls in troubled times, for the Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, will complete in us everything good so that we will be enabled to do his will and enter with resurrected bodies into the unshakable kingdom as we cross the finish line of our race. May it be so for all of us.
- Our Lord gives us a final sure promise: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me? (Hebrews 13:5-6) This includes the corona virus.
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it.Hebrews 4:1