Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 4 April 2017

When Moses had proclaimed every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9, verses 19-22.

Yesterday, I posed a question to you, asking “what will you say” to someone who doesn’t know about Jesus (or someone who has rejected Him or is hostile to Him)?   Today, let me take a burden off you by reminding you of something better than my question:

Don’t worry about it.

When you don’t know what to say about Jesus, or when you’re anxious, scared, embarrassed, hesitant, or apprehensive saying anything about Jesus, don’t worry about it.   Don’t worry about a thing. Be yourself.   Be real.   Give up trying to game the conversation and sound all holy and righteous and just be yourself.   Surrender your control over the conversation and let what you really believe come out.  When you do, you’ll find that it is Jesus speaking through you.   Indeed, Matthew 10:20 says that, when we don’t know what to say, we shouldn’t worry and speak confidently anyway “for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

People today still need to know that Jesus died for them to atone for their sins and know that they are forgiven of them forever.   People still need to know that Jesus fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy about the world’s Messiah.   People still need to know today about the Old Testament rituals and how they paint pictures of heaven, worship, and Jesus Christ Himself.  People who need to know these things are the same people we meet every day.

Yet most of us feel hesitant to talk about Jesus. It isn’t cool; it isn’t hip.   Someone might make fun of us.   People might be turned off, even repulsed, by hearing what we believe.   Where’s the fun in self-denying yourself the pleasures to be had while living?  Besides, Jesus Himself said that we would be persecuted, even killed, for professing our belief in Him:  who would want that?   Would you want to be part of some right wing, wacko cult following a two thousand year old guy who died who said something that completely defies logic and reason?

I have a hunch that the ancient Hebrews didn’t feel so different.   They had been God’s special people and they seemed to think He hated them.   Over and over again they received God’s mercy in how He delivered them from enemies, gave them victories, and blessed their lives.   Yet over and over again they turned away from Him, turning to idol worship and the pagan practices of their Canaanite neighbors.   Even when God instituted the practices described here in Hebrews, the Israelites must have felt the old self-loathing temptation of pressure.   It was a feeling as old as Adam and Eve, and they fell for it every time…even when the priest was sprinkling them with blood.   Is it any wonder that things haven’t changed?   We aren’t any different.

Here’s the point where it’s good to circle back to remembering that Jesus lived, died, and lived again to make the blood sacrifice to make things right between ourselves and our God.   Here’s a good time to remember that, even when we feel nervous in talking about Him, if we simply trust Him, He will do the talking.   That feeling of friendship, that bond with a stranger, that simple caring or love:   they’re ways Jesus’ Spirit communicates to us and through us.   If we simply give up worrying what we’ll say and let Him do the talking, then everything will turn out fine in the long run.  When you share Jesus simply and honestly, only good things can result from it and often in ways we can’t ever foresee.

What will you say? Don’t worry about it.   Just trust in Him and start talking.

For further reading: Hebrews 1:1, Exodus 24:6-8, Matthew 26:28, Exodus 29:21, Leviticus 8:15, Leviticus 17:11, Romans 12:9-21, 1 Corinthians 13, Matthew 10:20.

My Lord and Savior, I trust You.   Speak through my words and actions so that others may learn about You and You might have greater glory.

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