Over the past few weeks in our services at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we have been looking at passages from the New Testament book of Hebrews. (Last weeks message can be found here). We have seen how the author seeks to explain that Jesus Christ has a significance that is far above that of any other religious figures. He is greater than angels, greater than prophets that came before Him, and by virtue of the fact that He was the Son of God who gave His life upon the Cross to free the world from sin, greater than any priest that had ever served the people.
In the passage we will be thinking about this week (Hebrews 9:13-15) the writer tells us that if Jesus is so much more than those who came before, then He is also so much more able to help us travel through whatever life throws at us.
Here's part of that passage from 'The Message'. “If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered Himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.”
We all have times in our lives when we ask ourselves 'How more can we take?' There are situations that come our way when we ask ourselves 'How much more can I be expected to give?' We are sometimes in relationships, at work, with family or even with friends, when things become strained and we ask, 'How much more do you want from me?'
This passage speaks about the God of 'How much more'. It speaks about how, if we can but recognize it, the love and grace of Jesus Christ are more than enough to carry us through every challenge that we face and every situation that life brings to our doorstep. To apply that thought to our lives we often have to take a step back, take a deep breath and offer up a heartfelt prayer, yet as we consider the lengths that Jesus went to prove to us we are loved by God, it can grant us a fresh perspective on our trials and concerns.
Central to that picture is the Cross. The Christian claim for the death of Christ is that, as the Message Bible tells us, 'The blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out'. To put it another way, whatever is going on around us or within us, God has got it covered and can help us through it. If we feel like all our efforts are leading us down a dead end street, then, in the light of the resurrection, we see that 'dead-ends' can sometimes turn out to be glorious new beginnings!
So if you are in one of those 'How much more can I take!' weeks, turn to the God who can give so much more than we dare imagine, the God who came to us in Jesus Christ and promises to send His Holy Spirit to accompany us as we journey beside cool clear waters or through deep dark valleys.
One of the most popular contemporary Christian songs of recent days has been Hillsong's - 'Oceans (where feet may fail). The lyrics speak to those times when we feel totally out of our depth and the ability of God to not allow us to be drowned in a sea that is more than we can handle. “I will call upon Your name, And keep my eyes above the waves, When oceans rise, My soul will rest in Your embrace, For I am Yours and You are mine.”
(If you ever check out the comments section following 'youtube' videos, there are many postings following the song from folk struggling with what life has thrown at them. As with all unfiltered internet conversations, some are random, some are just strange, but among them are some inspirational thoughts on how the God of 'how much more' has helped people through difficult days.)
Rev Adrian J Pratt B.D.