I have watched more baseball in the last few weeks than I have in the past ten years combined. True, I am usually reading a book or doing something else at the same time, but I think it counts. My husband’s and son’s enthusiasm for the postseason is catching and I enjoy watching them root for the same team (or commiserating together). I’m happy the Chicago Cubs have made it to the World Series and I hope they win it too.
I find it interesting how a game can change many people’s perspective on life, even if temporarily. There is a buzz to life right now, at least among Cubbies fans (and all real baseball fans). You feel it at work, the grocery store, restaurants, on social media sites, and anywhere else people are gathered. Talk of the Cubs dominates conversations for young and old alike. Allegiance is reflected in what people are wearing each day and their ring tones playing “Go, Cubs, Go”.
What causes this buzz and excitement? Hope. Hope that the Chicago Cubs baseball team can really do it - they can win the World Series.
In the midst of all this post season hub-bub I have been studying the book of Hebrews with my boys. One word that could describe this book of the Bible? Hope. Real hope. Not nail biting, “I-hope-they-can-do-it-but-I’m-not-completely-sure” kind of hope, but solid and unwavering, “I-am-fully-convinced -no-doubt-about-it” kind of hope. Hebrews has once again concreted my faith in God.
The author is unknown for Hebrews, but God is proven the perfect Chooser. This author is a poetic, historical and literary genius. Beautifully written to the Hebrew people it presents the case for Christ using evidence from the Old Testament; lining up the prophetic words and what was lived out under the old covenant to prove the case for Christ being the Messiah and High Priest of the new and better covenant.
The evidence is overwhelming, undeniable and thrilling. After several chapters of presentation and encouragement, the author writes this in chapter 10:19-23:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
I find these verses to be nearly the book of Hebrews in a nutshell. Because Jesus is the answer to all things Old Testament and because of what he did for us on the cross, ushering in the “new and living way”, we can have FULL assurance of faith and can hold fast in our hope. No wavering! Why? Because HE who promised is FAITHFUL. In other words: because God says so, that’s why!
God tells us that if he has picked us to be on his team, we win. The World Series is in the bag and we can call ourselves victorious already. Jesus Christ, putting on his jersey of flesh for a time, hit the out-of-the-park, walk-off home run that saved us. Then he went and sat down at the right hand of his Father, job done (Hebrews 10:12). That is why the Bible is full of commands to rejoice!
So… rejoice! We can possess real hope because Jesus has already crushed the Opposition. We who are on the side of Christ remain on the field until all of our teammates are fully gathered together. We eagerly await the return of our Savior to begin the victory ceremony (Hebrews 9:28). Until then we walk in full assurance that it has been accomplished. “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf,” Hebrews 6:19-20a.
So, let the buzz begin. Spread the good news of what Jesus has done. Let your hope and enthusiasm be on display and affect the way you behave. Let this assurance of victory be on your lips as you encourage your team often, “…and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25b. That “Day” of His return is coming quickly. Be sure you are identifying with Christ and clothed in the Holy Spirit, not trusting in a short-sighted jersey of blue and red dust.
The Cubs may or may not win the World Series this year, I don’t know. I hope they do, but it is not something I hope in. My life’s hope is firmly in the hands of the One who has accomplished the eternal win and who has given me faith to believe that when he said, “It is finished.” He meant it.