In 1964, Bob Dylan penned the song, “The Times, They Are A Changin'”. He was attempting to articulate, and perhaps inspire, public changes through social and political influence. In a melodic delivery, yet with quite blunt phrasing, he told those who would not change to get out of the way, and challenged listeners to not criticize what they could not understand.
In one sense, he was right. As we watch the news, hear the latest updates from friends and family, or simply reflect on photographs of days gone by … from technology, to economics, to culture, to morality, even to basic understanding of gender, sexuality, and the existence of life … my, how the world has changed. Given the thousands of years of man’s existence, consider that even penicillin, zippers, can openers, sliced bread, and television are less than 100 years old.
Long before Bob Dylan, the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus (c.500 bc), was quoted as saying, “Life is flux”, meaning simply that all things change. We often paraphrase this to say the only constant in life is change. But some things haven’t changed, and won’t.
“Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever”, Hebrews 13:8 tells us.
Without even going further, there is peace and comfort in the truth of that statement. Simply knowing there is a constant, a Rock on which we can build our hope and faith, settles us and adds perspective as we face uncertain times.
But, look a little deeper with me for a moment. In chapter 1, verse 12, the writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 102:27. That Psalm, originally referring to the God of Israel, is now attributed to Jesus, “But you are the same, and your years will never end”. We should not miss the clear connection to Jesus as eternal God … yesterday, today, and forever.
The author of Hebrews also tells of what Jesus has done (i.e., yesterday). In 5:7, “During his earthly life, he offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” As the second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God appealed to God the Father, sending God the Spirit to strengthen Christians and unify the Church (cf. John 17). He goes on in 12:2 to speak of Jesus’ work on the cross, “… for the joy that lay before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.
Speaking of today, 4:15 gives us the beautiful image of Christ as our High Priest, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin”. And what is the role of the High Priest? To represent God to the Church, and the Church to God, making sacrifice to establish the relationship. Jesus Christ, as our High Priest, made the perfect sacrifice and now serves as the perfect representative ensuring our eternal relationship. Today, we are represented in the presence of God.
Hebrews 7:24-25 takes these truths of yesterday and today into eternity. “But because He remains forever, He holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them.”
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has been interceding for us. He made the perfect sacrifice. He is currently serving as our sympathetic, yet holy, representative, High Priest. And, because of His unchanging, eternal nature, He will continue to intercede and save those who come to Him in faith. That should give us pause and cause for praise!
We know, from reading scripture, that the things of this world will only continue to change until Christ is crowned King and the new heaven and new earth are revealed. Until then, in today’s world of uncertainty and dramatic world events, I need this constant reference point. Even more, I need to allow the unchanging Son of God to transform me into His likeness. May my life be all about Him. “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.”
“On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand …“When darkness veils His lovely face, I’ll rest on His unchanging grace; In every high and stormy day, my anchor holds within the veil …“On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand”– William Bradbury, 1816-1868