It’s so simple

Hebrews 9:23-28

Would it help ease our collective conscious to recall we’ve been here before?

That is, the church has struggled in times past. We’ve had troubling circumstances surrounding leadership and doctrine. The church’s ministry has shifted before. And we haven’t always aligned our priorities with Jesus. 

It was a great blessing to me to read comments from some early church leaders. There is much reflection on the writings we have from them. It’s interesting to read how their theological wheels turned as they helped define our faith. Thousands of years later, we still share belief and tradition. There’s also the same kind of frustrations. 

People weren’t always willing to grow with the church. To use a word most of us know, there was backsliding. Christians would  profess a faith in Jesus and carry on with their lives like nothing had changed. They would curse each other and plot against one another. Let’s go back even further. The New Testament epistles are, mostly, written to faith communities with problems. There’s dissention, false teaching, quarrels, injustice and rivalries. 

Let’s remember that people will always be people. That helps me be less uptight when the church faces those same issues today. No, that doesn’t excuse it. And that doesn’t mean we don’t address our struggles. 

The question is, how are we going to address them?

If you’re reading Hebrews, the answer is clear. It’s thought the believers who read the epistle were in turmoil. For the most part, their grapple was with a mix of dubious faith and apathy.

Sound familiar?

So, what is Hebrews response to that? Jesus. Every bit of the entire letter, or sermon, draws us in to see how lofty and better the ministry of Jesus is above all else. He has redeemed us!

My dad’s a preacher, too. When we talk after a worship gathering, he’ll ask me, “What you preach on?” Every time, my corny response is, “Jesus.” It’s sound simple, I know. I’m not asking us to neglect other important or difficult matters. But I don’t want us to lose sight of who and what makes us who and what we are. Our Christian identity cannot be just in name.

As God’s church, we don’t circle back to Jesus. As believers, we aren’t called to include Jesus in our lives. It’s in him we live and move and have our being. Remembering that is the only thing that’s going to get us through these same old struggles and difficulties.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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