By Erin Bird
We are continuing our series entitled The Same which we began last week. Our key verse for this little series is Hebrews 13:8, which says:
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Last week, we began by looking at the central character of this verse. In order for us to appreciate His sameness, we spent our very brief time together seeing who "this Jesus" is.
So this week, I'd like to look at the first word in the chronological phrase at the end of the verse: yesterday.
The Yesterday of Jesus
Because Jesus is eternal, He doesn't truly have a "yesterday." As God the Son, part of the great I Am, Jesus always has been. There was never a time when He did not exist. In other words, He is outside of time itself. Therefore, He can't truly have a "yesterday."
However, Jesus did "appear" on earth before the Incarnation (His birth). These appearances are called theophanies: moments when God appeared on earth, sometimes in physical form. Many scholars believe these theophanies are appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ.
For instance, in the book of Daniel, three young Jewish men were thrown into a fiery furnace as punishment for not bowing down to a false god. Yet when the misguided King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the fire to see the destruction of the three Jewish teens, he saw a fourth man among them, who he described as looking like a god.
I could also talk about Jesus' appearance to Abraham in Genesis 18, or when He showed up in the night to wrestle Jacob in Genesis 32, or even when He appeared to Ezekiel in all His glory in Ezekiel 1.
And so in a sense, Jesus did appear in His "yesterday."
The Yesterday of You
While it is kind of fun (if not theologically geeky) to think about the "yesterday" of Jesus, the reason the author of Hebrews wrote that Jesus is the same "yesterday," is that He has been the same throughout your life, including your yesterdays.
The struggles many people face in life are due to things that happened "yesterday." Thankfully, the cross is powerful enough to restore you despite those damaging moments! How encouraging to know that no matter what you did in your past, or what was done to you or around you years ago, Jesus was with you, consistently loving you.
At the same time, some people think their best days are in their past, which leads them to be frustrated with their not-as-awesome present. However, if those "good ol' days" were Christ-honoring, then they should lead us to worship rather than despair in the humdrum of today.
So may you realize that the same Jesus who appeared to Abraham, Jacob, Ezekiel, and Nebuchadnezzar is the same Jesus who forgives your past sin and provided past joy. And may this realization lead you to let go of those painful moments and worship because of the positive ones!
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