TODAY’S READING: Hebrews 7–10
The power of an endless life (7:16). It’s amazing what you will do if you are not afraid of dying and what you will not do if you keep your eyes on the prize of eternal life. Missions only makes sense to those who believe that living forever is real and that living forever with Jesus is far preferable to living forever burning in hell. If eternal life is real, then dying is the charade (in as far as it suggests the end). The devil would have us to think that physical death is the end, so we better live it up now. The Lord would have us rejoice that death is the beginning of our forever, so we deny ourselves now that we might live it up forever. When missionaries have no fear of death, they operate in the power of an endless life. Nothing makes God’s representatives shudder, slink away, or shut up when they live in the reality of forever. When the absolute worst thing the bad guys can do to missionaries or believers is to send them to eternal life with Jesus, it’s easy to see why the children of God can live in fearless power.
The power of prayer (7:25). The most astounding revelation of the activity of our ascended Lord Jesus is that He spends His time praying for us. Jesus uses His everlasting life and power to pray. Jesus ascended to prepare a place for us by praying! With everything that Jesus could be doing right now, He chooses to spend His time praying for us. It’s hard to comprehend, but Jesus—God Himself—is our primary prayer partner. If omnipotent Christ prays in heaven, how much more should all feeble humans pray here on earth. The best thing we can do for the advance of the gospel, whether as senders or missionaries on the field ourselves, is pray. A critical missionary error is to think that prayer is only the work of the sender. Prayer must be the first work of the goer.
The power of confession (10:23–25). How we prove that we’re not Christians is with our mouth. The Roman emperor Trajan and the governor Pliny corresponded about how to discern if someone was a Christian: “If the accused makes it clear he is not a Christian by offering to our gods, he is to be pardoned,” Trajan wrote. In other words, words of public worship prove our allegiance. If we belong to Jesus, we must hold fast to that confession publicly; we must open our mouths and declare we belong to Jesus and He is God. Hebrews is repetitively clear that we can belong to Jesus and then forfeit that status through willful disobedience and insulting the Spirit of grace. To live by faith is connected to believing Jesus is coming back to judge and enduring so that we can receive the promise.
The missionary spirit remembers we will live forever and thus lives with the power of endless life. The missionary spirit observes that Jesus spends His eternal time praying and resolves to do likewise. The missionary spirit is acutely aware that faith necessitates public confession that we belong to Jesus (no matter what the consequences of that allegiance require on earth) for the joys of what is before them in heaven.