I am definitely a landlubber. I’ve rarely gone out on the seas: to me, going out on a lake in someone else’s boat is pretty risky business. It’s with good reason that the Sea in the Bible is often used to represent evil or danger. We can have some measure of how dangerous even fishing was on the Lake of Galilee by the way the experienced fishermen who were Jesus’ disciples cry out when a storm quickly arises on the lake.
In the ancient world, the sea was a mysterious and dangerous place. As we see sometimes in the Gospels, and also at the end of the book of Acts, sailing was a dangerous pursuit. The greatest danger of all, more than seasickness, more than pirates, and even more than starvation, was the weather itself. Even on the relatively small Lake of Galilee, life-threatening storms often arose quickly, and on the high seas, the weather often started getting rough and the tiny ships were tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crews, the vessels would be lost.
Giant waves and violent winds were a constant menace to these relatively helpless ships, threatening to overturn the ships, swamp and sink them with water, or drive them into the rocky coast where they might be smashed to pieces.
One of the most important inventions for those on the sea, then, was the anchor. By attaching the ship to a rope that was attached to a heavy piece of metal (sometimes weighing 1500 pounds in the ancient world), a ship could be safely anchored so that it would be kept safe from some of these dangers.
This is the picture that the writer of Hebrews has in mind when he says that “we have an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (verse 19.) The truth is that in this life we are in constant dangers from the elements of this life that threaten to swamp us, sink us, or shatter us. Without an anchor to tie us to the Rock, we will drift in our spiritual lives and sail mindlessly out into a sea of dangers.
We all know that Jesus Christ is our Rock and our Anchor. But in what way does the writer of Hebrews mean it? Jesus is the anchor of our hope and life because He is the certainty that the good things that God has promised His people will happen. “Surely blessing I will bless you,” God says to us. But sometimes we don’t believe it. Sometimes we are doubting Charleses or doubting fill in your own names.
So the Father sent His Son, in order that we might not drift into danger but instead believe and have hope. Because Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself, we have hope that we have been and shall be delivered from our sins. Because Jesus Christ died for us and rose from the dead, we have hope that we shall be resurrected in the twinkling of an eye. Because Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient, even though He was tempted and suffered, we have hope that we have been and shall be made righteous in the sight of God.
We have a High Priest who has entered the Presence behind the veil. But unlike the high priests of the Old Covenant, who were only allowed to stay a day, Jesus Christ the Righteous has entered the Presence behind the veil – and He’s not coming back out except to bring some of us back in with Him!
Our hope, our anchor, is Jesus Christ and His ministry to us. And, therefore, we must always work to remember who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us. He is our anchor and our hope. Like an anchor that is sunk deeply into the land, we don’t physically see Jesus Christ in our life. But we’re supposed to believe that He is there, holding us fast to the Father and keeping us from danger. And that requires a vigilant faith that seeks to see Him every day and in every way.
I’m still blinking from the blinding vision of Jesus Christ I recently saw in Revelation 1. Or maybe it’s because I went out a few days later to look directly at the sun for a fraction of a second to remind myself of the glory of my Lord. (Right now my Mom, who is reading this, is saying “Oh Charlie! How could you do that? You’ll burn your eyes out!”)
Christian hope is a vivid, brilliant, blinding remembrance of God, powerfully anchored by the love and ministry of Jesus Christ, our great High Priest. It is the assurance of God’s love and help in this world of wicked weather and wrecks. It is to gaze intently at the sun, that we might catch a glimpse of the Sun that stays with us. It is to see the infinite vault of heaven above you in the physical world, and to remember that the sky is the sapphire floor under Christ’s feet in heaven. It is to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd in the words of the Bible. And it is to see Him in every one made in His image that will cross your life today.
It’s been said that some men are “all sail and no anchor.” That has never been more true for a culture than for ours today. We race ahead into uncharted and dangerous waters, cut loose from our Anchor, and blithely sail into sin and death. We are a rudderless, anchorless civilization that has no compass and no map, and yet blindly launches into a dark, existential sea.
But not us. We are to patiently endure the seas of life, and we are able to because we have an Anchor.
In your haste to launch out to sea today, don’t forget your Anchor. When the winds begin to howl and the waves start getting taller than you are, gaze intently at your Savior, and boldly come before the Throne of Grace, that you might receive grace and help in your time of need.
Prayer: Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last. Amen.
Points for Meditation:
1. List some ways that you can practice remembering God in your life. Keep this list handy and refer to it, that you might practice the presence of God.
2. Have you been drifting and trying to live your life and conquer your problems by yourself? Find one way in which you have been drifting, and through prayer, the Word, and godly fellowship and counsel, seek to anchor yourself to Christ in this area.
Resolution: I resolve to turn to Jesus Christ, the Anchor of my life, in all of my difficulties today.
© 2013 Fr. Charles Erlandson
Category: Give Us This Day