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by Katie Borden
The more I read today’s passage, the more I’m overcome with the power of resurrection.
Aaron Thompson preached a few weeks ago from the Genesis text where the events that are referenced in this Hebrews passage are first introduced in Scripture. He reminded us that much of what we see happening here is a testament to the sacrifice that God made for us of his one and only Son, who was resurrected and who lives eternally. Thanks be to God!
But before we talk any more about resurrection, we have to talk a little bit about death, for resurrection does not come without death first. So let’s talk about sacrifice.
Sacrifice is often messy. It’s painful. That’s been true for a long time. In Abraham’s day, sacrifice meant something (or someone) had to die. I think that is still true today, though a death may look a little bit different. Rather than laying down animals on an altar of stone, we find ourselves putting to death desires or dreams that may seem good in and of themselves, but are not what the Lord has in mind for us.
Real talk: I kind of despise sacrifice. Experiencing the dashing of dreams and the letting-go of loves is heart-wrenching and painful. But as I’ve laid relationships and careers and finances upon the altar of my heart, I’ve found that what I’m left with is Jesus. Not the anxiety of figuring out how to cling to the things I feared losing, but rather the presence of the One who allays all fears and brings more life and love and hope into my life than any of those things could possibly bring. The things that will suck life from me are put to death, and in their place I am granted the life-giving presence of the resurrected Jesus. What a move from death to life!
Now, if you or I had to make these sacrifices by our own power, we’d be sunk. The cost to our fleshly selves just seems too great, doesn’t it? But thanks be to God that his Spirit moves us toward life and works this life-giving faith in us, just as he did in Abraham. The Spirit of the Lord equipped Abraham to trust that God is always, always, always, ALWAYS faithful, and the promise we have of life in the Spirit is the most trustworthy and true gift we can receive.
Prayer: Lord, grant us faith by Your Spirit to surrender the things that will put us to death, and instead open our hands to receive life in You.