There’s a common phrase that many have been quoted as saying, writing, or singing: “You never know a good thing until it’s gone.” This statement, or something closely related to it, speaks to the reality that many of us have experienced before about taking things for granted or not appreciating what we have been given now because of something that might look or appear better. Another quote that would be closely associated with this one is “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Or, at times, it at least seems to be…
Have you ever been there before? Have you ever had those feelings or entertained those thoughts? All of us can fall into times where we take things for granted or think things would turn out better or differently if certain circumstances were altered. Sometimes, this thinking even shows up in our recollection of the past where we long and wish for the good old days. But how clear is our judgement in those times? Are we just wishing away our current reality because things might seem uncomfortable or appear unpleasant? Does time cloud our thinking to where we really aren’t remembering how things were or how much better things are now? I’ve had those times in my life and I’m sure many of you have too.
This week, we wrap up our two-week peek into Hebrews 12. The author spends the first portion of this chapter imploring their readers to have a newfound perspective in the midst of some trying times. He invites us, as the Church, to run this race of life with a renewed perseverance following in the footsteps of our Savior. He invites us to fix our eyes on Jesus and to see the training and restoration that He is doing in our lives to bring us to a fuller knowledge of who He is and what we have been given through His sacrifice.
We then come to this second portion of Hebrews 12 where the author warns about this very temptation to be blinded to what we have and currently live in as believers in Christ. For many Christians in the Early Church, they were feeling the pressure from both family and government to return to their Jewish faith and to forsake their new beliefs. The writer to the Hebrews calls to their remembrance and warns them against doing this as they are in a new place now because of grace. He uses two mountains to show this: Mount Sinai and Mount Zion. Mount Sinai was where Moses led the Israelites, once they had been freed from slavery in Egypt, to meet with God. It was at Mount Sinai that God established His Law and set His standard of holiness before the people. It was an impressive and frightening sight. The author shared that God’s Law was necessary and is necessary, but it is now held in light of the Gospel. When Jesus came, lived, died, and rose again, He established a new mountain to behold: Mount Zion. This mountain was one of grace, where the penalty for sin had been paid, where new life and new beginnings could take place. This mountain was where followers of Jesus were invited to dwell, in God’s very presence, because of Jesus’ victory over sin and death.
This same tale reminds us of seeing our present reality in light of the cross and in light of the hope we have in Jesus that promises us a new standing before God as His child. We no longer need to fear our current circumstances or situations and we no longer need to live in our hopeless inability to live a perfect life. Jesus came on our behalf and gives us the invitation to fix our eyes heavenward, basking in this new life we have been given because of His mercy.
Pastor Ben Bigaouette