2 November 2017Hebrews 11:32-40
“And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell ... though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, without us, be made perfect.” (vv. 32, 39-40)
Psalm: Psalm 114
Whoever wrote the letter to the Hebrews has summed up centuries of history in nine verses. No wonder that "time would fail me to tell". The names can be traced in the Old Testament and in events that were in very recent memory for the first readers. The language is concise and teasing out the different stories would take considerable time. Those included are commended for their faith, but did not see the completion of their hope. That only happened when the long-promised Messiah came.
So the writer is building up evidence for new Christians and urging them to recognise their inheritance from all those faithful people. Yet they have even more to celebrate because they have knowledge of Jesus, although they needed to be encouraged, maybe because they were of the generation who had not seen Jesus.
We, who never met Jesus as a man;
never sat at his feet to listen to his teaching;
never had the chance to ask him a question;
never felt his personal touch of healing;
never heard one of his stories from his own lips;
never witnessed his attacks on the religious leaders;
never took a meal with him; never prayed with him,
never suffered with him; never watched him die,
or were amazed at his resurrection appearances;.
We may feel that we have missed that special sense of connection
felt only by those who knew him personally.
Yet even those who walked with the everyday Jesus
did not know him long enough to receive all his teaching.
Jesus knew he could never encapsulate
all the wisdom and grace of God in one short lifetime.
So, as his life neared its end, he made a promise,
and that promise is for all who would follow him,
no matter how many centuries have passed since it was made.
So we, who never knew Jesus as a man,
can still experience the same Spirit that was in him,
and that Spirit will be our guide as we explore the nature of God
that will lead us into the real truth of our purpose here on earth.
- If you could sit at the feet of Jesus, what would you ask him?
- What are the differences between our faith and the experiences of these other people mentioned in today's passage?