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Be Fishers of People, But Cling to Hope’s Anchor

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf (Heb. 6:19-20a).

Over the years, I’ve encountered some professional anglers who can “strike gold” in any body of water. Meanwhile, the “heftiest haul” that I’ve ever hooked was a different type of metal—a chuck of galvanized steel that I mistakenly snagged off the coast of Florida. Despite its lack of fish-like aquatic properties, this worn and weathered fragment of an old anchor still offered a reward of its own. It reminded me that in the midst of life’s turbulent seas, our hope in Jesus Christ is an anchor for our souls.

The writer of Hebrews, along with several Greek philosophers, clearly understood the metaphoric importance of an anchor as a symbol of “hope.” Epictetus, a Greek Stoic philosopher who lived both in Rome and Greece once wrote, “A ship should never depend on one anchor or a life on one hope.” Subsequently, Pythagoras said: “Wealth is a weak anchor; fame is still weaker.” In his assessment of life, the strongest anchors consisted of wisdom, boldness, and courage. Despite these honest sentiments, however, Christians possess the greatest anchor in the world, which is their hope in Jesus Christ. Jesus has restored a righteous relationship between humankind and God the Father.

Such a relationship is possible because Jesus Christ has entered into the inner court behind the veil (v. 20). In a reference to the Jewish sacrificial system, the most sacred place in the Temple was the Holy of Holies. Once a year, on an appointed day, the High Priest was the only person who could briefly enter into the Holy of Holies—and at a great risk of peril to his life. What Christ has accomplished, however, is to “go before us” into this sacred sanctuary and to invite us into God’s presence.

The title used for Christ in this instance is “forerunner,” a translation of the Greek word prodromos. In this manner, the word has several nuances as: (1) one who “pursues” or “rushes” in front of others, (2) one who acts as a “pioneer,” and (3) one who serves as a “scout” in preparation for those who will follow him. Until Jesus Christ came to earth, there was a sense of alienation between God and humankind. Jesus’s obedient sacrifice, however, has enabled his followers to become “friends” of God—not strangers or mere servants (John 15:13-15).

In other words, our great hope in this world is that Christ is our anchor of salvation. In him, we have a restored relationship with almighty God—and as such, we no longer need to fear the storms of life. Since we have such an eternal anchor of the soul, our commission is to identify the weak anchors of this world (earthly treasures) that ultimately cause people to “sink with the ship.” Instead, we must take every effort to proclaim the “great hope set before us”—and to encourage others to run towards it!

Prayer: Dear Lord, our Eternal Hope, strengthen us to stand firm in the midst of life’s storms, and to boldly declare the intimate relationship that awaits those who will grasp ahold of this great anchor of faith.

Brian Keithline

Associate Pastor, Aurora Hills Church

Aurora, CO

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