Hebrews 13:8 tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (NRSV). This is a truly beautiful statement about Christ that we so often misinterpret to mean something it is not saying. Yes, Jesus is eternal and the Alpha and Omega. I am not arguing this to not be true, but I do not believe this is what the author of Hebrews is telling us. Jesus is the same today as he was 2000 years ago when he walked the earth as a man in Galilee. So who was Jesus of Nazareth? Because that Jesus we read about in Scriptures is the same Jesus who is sitting today at the right hand of the Father.
Jesus is a bridge.
Jesus is not one who built walls and divides between people and groups. Jesus built bridges which allowed people to approach him and experience the love of the Father and still does the same today. Jesus was one who allowed the children, outcasts, and foreigners to come to him when others avoided them at all costs, and he is still doing the same today. Jesus was and is a bridge who invites any and all people to come to him to find love, comfort, and acceptance. While people and other “gods” build walls to keep so many out, Jesus is a bridge that invites any and all to come and approach him personally. Jesus welcomes all to his table to feast and be filled, cared for, and loved.
Jesus is compassionate.
Jesus is compassionate and hurts for and with us because he bore all our sin and struggle on the cross. No other person in the world can fully understand your pain than Jesus who stepped out of heaven and humbled himself for our sins and iniquities (Isa 53). Jesus is compassionate and hurts with us. Many people know the shortest verse in the Bible when Jesus wept (John 11:35). Jesus hurt when Lazarus died while knowing he could and would raise him from the dead. I do not think this weeping was just for Lazarus, but also for those there mourning his death. That same Jesus weeps for our pain and hurt while knowing the victory we have awaiting us. Jesus understands our pain on the deepest level imaginable and hurts with us while also comforting and offering us peace and salvation.
Jesus is committed.
Jesus is committed to us and his mission fully. Jesus at every turn in the gospels could have employed any number of ways to save himself and abandon his mission, but he did not because he was committed. Jesus was committed to the will of God and the reconciliation and salvation of us, and still is today. Jesus is fierce. The Bible is a whole story of the Triune God’s relentless and fierce love for is creation, pursuing and redeeming us while we still so often reject him.
Jesus is the same always. Past, present, and future. Yes, he is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. But the same Jesus who walked the earth 2000 years ago serving and love those around him is alive and active today at the right hand of the Father and has sent us his Holy Spirit. Jesus is a bridge for all, he is a compassionate Savior, and he is committed to the mission of God for humanity. Jesus is fierce. He is relentless. He is loving. He is our friend. And he is the same yesterday and today and forever.