Youversion sends me a verse every day. Sometimes I read it more carefully and thoughtfully than others. This morning’s caught me off guard a little.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Maybe I should explain how it caught me off guard. After all, this is one that I’ve had committed to memory for almost 40 years. Why would it jump out at me today?
Because for most of the first half of those 40 years, I weaponized this verse.
I pulled it out of context and used it to support my particular understanding of whatever it was I wanted “Jesus Christ” to be about for whichever argument I was in.
As if Jesus has always been a spiritual trump card to play on other people, to quash their arguments. And if “Jesus” means what I say he means today, then he’s always meant that. Because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Except Hebrews 13:7. Which says:
Remember your leaders who spoke God’s word to you. Imitate their faith as you consider the way their lives turned out.
This is very important: Hebrews 13:8 wasn’t written primarily as a debate tool that makes Jesus eternally agree with me. Rather, it was written to encourage each reader and hearer to trust Jesus to work in his/her own life the same way as Jesus worked in the lives of their teachers and mentors.
And I’m sure it’s no coincidence that this follows not long after the “Hall of Faith” listing in chapter 11.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So are the ways we misuse his name.