Picture living on a great pond, often placid, sometimes stormy. What we know about this pond is that it is bordered by a waterfall. Everyone, eventually, goes over the waterfall. Most people try to avoid the waterfall for as long as possible. Some choose to play precariously on the edge, often paying the price. But as life goes on day by day, one could almost forget that the waterfall exists. Yes, we lose loved ones occasionally, but it happened to them, not to me.
Jesus came to earth, and in a short three years ticked off enough people that they threw him over the waterfall. He came with hopes and promises, and there truly was something deeply different about him. And he did not deserve to be killed. But over he went. and then he came back.
Jesus is forming a brotherhood (and sisters, too). Having defeated death, not just avoiding it, but defeating it, he leads. There is a direction, and there is a discipline to this direction. It can be hard, and painful at times, but he leads the way, our first leader, our Pioneer, upstream, against the flow. He leads us into lives that adamantly insist that this is not all there is. We proclaim that we exist, not for our own glory, but for God's. We refuse to live just for the service of self, but to love and serve others. We fail, often, and then begin again, assured by his forgiveness. We hope for a new creation in which there is no sin, but only righteousness and peace and joy (Romans 14:17) - God's righteousness and God's peace and God's joy, shared with His children through His Son and by His Spirit.
But here we are, back on the pond. And we find ourselves adrift, the very thing the author of Hebrews said not to do: "For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it" (Hebrews 2:1). He goes on and says in v. 3, "how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" And so here we are, adrift and neglectful. Too many of us are living as though this is all there there is. Too many of us are living for our own glory. Too many of us live primarily to serve ourselves, and we only serve others with the leftovers. Too many of us are trying to prove how good we are, rather than gladly accepting the forgiveness that we need. We are not hoping for a new creation, but are trying to make the best of it in this old creation. The only thing weaker than our fear of the impending waterfall is our hunger for God's righteousness and peace and joy.
But God has spoken in His Son (Hebrews 1:2), and Jesus still speaks. His testimony lives on, even as he speaks the truth because He is the Truth. And so words spoken long ago, in a different culture, in a different language, and in a different context - they are His words, and he speaks the truth to the band of brothers whom he is ferrying through this old creation, past the waterfall, to a new creation. And his testimony is this: "I will put my trust in Him" (Hebrews 2:13; Isaiah 8:17).