Hebrews 13 contains a hodgepodge of exhortations to the believing community. Amidst these imperatives, we find one glorious indicative:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
That sounds encouraging, doesn't it? But why? Why does the writer insert this statement? And why should it encourage us?
Commenting on verse 8, F.F. Bruce says,
Yesterday, Jesus "offered up entreaties and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death" (Heb 5:7); today he represents his people in the presence of God, a high-priest who has a fellow-feeling with them in their weakness, because he "endured trial in all respects like" themselves, "while remaining free from sin" (4:15); forever he lives, this same Jesus, "to intercede for them" (Heb 7:25).
The Epistle to the Hebrews (NICNT: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990); 375.
What was Jesus doing yesterday? What is he doing today? What will he be doing forever?
Perfectly representing you before the Father.
Jesus has perfectly represented you before the Father, he is perfectly representing you before the Father, and he will perfectly represent you before the Father forever.
The Hebrews were suffering. Look at the imperatives in 13:1-16, and then read between the lines. Communal love was threatened (13:1); some were leaving the church (13:2; cf. 10:24-25); others were being imprisoned and mistreated (13:3); the community's values were at odds with those of the dominant culture (13:4); people were losing their property (13:5-5; cf. 10:32-34); key leaders had died (13:7); the church had a poor reputation with the surrounding community (13:9-16). There was nothing this church could cling to, save for Jesus.
The same is true for us (though the comforts of modern society often obscure this reality).
We have no idea what today will bring. Perhaps today will be the greatest day of your life. It may turn out to be the worst. You may achieve a great triumph, or you may endure an unspeakable tragedy. In all likelihood, today will be like most; mundane, monotonous, decent.
But the unfathomably good news for the Hebrews (and for us) is that Jesus lives to be the church's representative. Right now, he intercedes for you (Rom 8:34). He is empathetic to you. He resonates with your deep hurts, aches and longings (4:15). Yet, he is terrifyingly unlike you; sinless, powerful, sovereign and pure (7:25-26). He identifies with you entirely, and represents you flawlessly.
Your messy life is hidden in the perfection of your Savior (Col 3:3). Your Father always and only looks at you through Jesus, your righteous elder brother. Your Father is thus favorably disposed towards you. He is one hundred percent for you (Rom 8:31-32). He thinks of you this way when you obey. He thinks of you this way when you sin. Why? Because Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
You have been saved, you are being saved, and you will be saved because Jesus doesn't change.
So lay aside encumbrances, stop clinging to false saviors, and fix your eyes on Jesus, the champion and perfecter of the faith (12:1-3).