Jesus Our Forerunner
From Gospel Translations
“Where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
- Hebrews 6:19–20
Thousands of years ago, God called out Abraham and promised to bless and multiply his family. Though the promise of blessing should have been enough for Abraham to believe, God knew that doubts would come, and so He later swore an oath confirming the promise (Heb. 6:13–17). The promise and oath were given to encourage the children of Abraham to hold fast to their hope (v. 18). We who love Christ are the true children of Abraham and have these two unchangeable things to motivate our perseverance.
Though the promise and oath offer us encouragement, they are, in the end, not what steadies us in the midst of toil and tribulation. They only serve to motivate us to hold onto “the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul,” or the hope that enters into the heavenly place behind the curtain (v. 19).
Having warned us about falling away from the new covenant, the author now encourages us by describing the hope that is the anchor of our souls. Such a hope is not mere wishful thinking; rather, it is something that springs from trust in God and His promises. It is the eager expectation that the God who has fulfilled His word in the past will certainly fulfill it in the future.
While this hope is true and sure, it is not true and sure in and of itself. Such hope is only a sure anchor because it is a hope that enters into the holy place where Jesus has gone as our forerunner. And not only has He gone in as our forerunner, He has also become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (v. 20).
Our hope is a sure hope because it is grounded in our faithful and immutable God. Our hope reminds us that our present and troubled existence will end, and that we will dwell forever in the holiest place where we will experience the Lord face to face. It is an anchor because it leads us to the place where we will be with God forever.
But we can only be taken to this place because Jesus has gone before us. We can only go there because Jesus has first offered the sacrifice that opens the door. We can only go in because Christ forever intercedes for us as a priest after the order of Melchizedek. John Owen rightly reminds us that “even heaven would be no safe place for us to fix the anchor of our trust and hope in if Christ were not there.”
During the next few weeks we will look at how Christ, being in the order of Melchizedek, benefits us. Suffice it to say for now that being in the order of Melchizedek makes Jesus an eternal priest who always mediates between us and the Father. This mediation enables us to dwell forever in His presence. Thank Christ Jesus for His mediatorial work.
Passages for Further Study
1 Cor. 13:12