Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever._2

Pastor Ino

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Today’s message is the second message from Hebrews 13:8,「Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.」It is such an encouragement that we know this Jesus who is the same yesterday and today and forever. I’d like to focus on this passage and also verses 20-21, the word of benediction. We’ll also learn about Jesus as the high priest and the work of redemption that Jesus has accomplished. I hope you all will discover this truth today that Jesus has accomplished the work of God transcending centuries and let us give thanks to Him together. Now, please read Hebrews 13:8 and verses 18-21.
The author of Hebrews teaches us the image of Jesus, as the high priest. Especially in chapters 9 and 10, he uses the word “once for all” several times to emphasize the perfection and eternity of Christ’s Atonement. Let’s take a look at some passsages. Hebrews 9:11, 12 says,「But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.」Hebrews 9:26 says,「..But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.」 Hebrews 10:10 says,「And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.」‭‭In this way, the word “once for all” emphasizes the perfection and eternity of Christ’s redemption. Those who believe in Christ are saved and made holy. There have been many people who are saved, and there will be more people to be saved, regardless of time and culture. From the next time, we will learn from the book of James. This James is a brother of Jesus, and he could not even believe Jesus as Christ at first. However, he was saved and turned into a leader of a church.
Even during the Warring States period in Japan, many daimyo were led to faith by Jesuit missionaries. Among them, I am interested in the faith of Dom Justo Takayama, who kept the faith until the end and was sent to Manila. During the Meiji era, many people, including Kanzo Uchimura, have been led to faith by Dr. Clark, who was assigned to Hokkaido University. It is also a famous story that Professor Tadao Yanaihara, was forced to resign from teaching at Tokyo University because he made negative statements about the war before the World War Ⅱ. He became the president of the University of Tokyo after the war. It is a historical fact that many people came to Christ and have faith in Christ over time and culture. Believers have been awakened all over the world at all times because of the work of redemption done by Jesus once for all, which is enough and complete. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Let’s hold on to the promise of this word. The same redemption of Christ is given to my life and to your life. As forgiveness of sins is given, our lives will be changed, and self-centered lives will be changed into lives that love our neighbors.

 At Hebrews 13: 20-21, the author of Hebrews, who is about to finish writing this letter, offers a prayer of blessing. (I will quote this passage in the new translation 2017 Japanese Bible.)「Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.」(‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:20-21‬ ‭NIV)
Every time I read this passage, it always encourages me. The author describes Jesus as the great Shepherd of the sheep, the blood of the eternal covenant. Jesus, the high priest is also the great shepherd. As Psalm 23: 1 says, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Jesus is our shepherd and our high priest. Hebrews 13:20-21 says “through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead.” Jesus is our shepherd, and as the Lamb of God, the one who crucified, died, and was resurrected. The eternal covenant is God’s promise to forgive our sins and he never remembers them again. And it is also a promise that the Holy Spirit will give our hearts the law of God’s love.
By the way, the subject of this sentence is the God of peace, so the author of Hebrew calls God the Father the God of peace. God the Father brought us peace by Christ the Son. The autohor prays here that this God of peace will equip you with everything good for doing his will. It says to quip you, but the new translation of the Bible translates to make you perfect. Originally, this word has the meaning of repairing or completely recovering. Therefore, the author prays that the God of peace will restore you completely, that is, to prepare you and do His will. John 6:39-40 says「And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”」(‭‭John‬ ‭6:39-40‬ ‭NIV)‬‬
Sometimes we face challenges and difficulties. However, it is certain that God’s help will be fully given in such difficult times. Let us pray that God’s will will be done in us, with the promise that「…suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.」(‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬) We should never forget to put into practice of loving our brothers and sisters. And no matter what we do, let us humble ourselves and pray from the bottom of our hearts, “to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

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