Submitted by Jan on Tue, 20/08/2013 – 11:17
Year C (2012-2013)
Bible Book: Hebrews / Hebreers
Verse: 18 – 29
Hebrews 12 contains a number of terms that evoke a feeling of fear and hopelessness in the mind of the casual reader: “struggle against sin” (v.4); “feeble arms and weak knees” (v.12); “without holiness no-one will see the Lord” (v.14).
In a world that already seems to be collapsing under a feeling of hopelessness, these verses do not seem to help us much to get a new vision for our future. In spite of efforts from various organisations to stop the tsunami of HIV and AIDS in Africa, the reality is that these efforts seem to be in vain.
In the Old Testament the Israelite often experienced a feeling of hopelessness. It may have seemed to them that their God was actually a God of hardship and death. When God revealed Himself at Mount Sinai, the people were filled with fear. The description in the Old Testament of what happened is even more awesome than the words in Hebrews 12:18-21. The mountain was burning and the smoke made it impossible to see anything (Deut. 4:11-12), there were thunder, lightning and a dark cloud (Ex. 19:16-21) and when God spoke, He did it through thunder. Nobody was allowed to touch the mountain – even an animal that touched the mountain had to be killed. A feeling of total despair and fear filled the Israelite, for they knew that their chances of survival were virtually nil.
But in contrast to this, another image of God is revealed in Hebrews 12:22-24. The believers are invited to meet God as He reveals Himself at Mount Zion. This of course is an eschatological (end time) vision that invites the believer, in spite of circumstances, in spite of feelings of hopelessness and fear, to join God.
There are times when we realise that all efforts to make a difference in our communities have been exhausted. This happens, for example, when you stand next to the bed of a young girl who should have been in the prime of her life, but who is dying because of AIDS. The fear and hopelessness in the eyes of such a person cannot leave one unaffected.
In these circumstances we have to be able to take the hand of such a person and to escort him or her “to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (verse 24).
To think about (or discuss): How does the hope in Jesus our mediator helps us in our struggle against HIV and AIDS?
Written by: Dr Arnau van Wyngaard, CEO Shiselweni Reformed Home-Based Care
Author: van Wyngaard A (Dr)