Day Three: “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Heb 11:1)
This is one of the first verses I memorized as a teenager but I also always associated it in my mind with a scene from the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. If you’ve seen the movie, I’m sure you can remember when Indiana Jones has to take a “step of faith” from the lion’s mouth during his quest for the Holy Grail. If not, watch it here. As a kid, this scene made a big impression on me and I can still picture him simply stepping off the edge of the cliff into a seemingly bottomless chasm only to be stopped abruptly when he lands on a hidden bridge made of stone. For me, this embodied the whole concept about the “assurance of what we do not see” from this verse. For if Indiana Jones had been wrong he would have plunged to his death, so it was a literal “leap of faith” for him. All in all, this verse still creates a vivid image for me of what it means to put my faith in something I cannot prove at the time.
For me now, I think this classic faith verse is not just about having faith itself, but also the realization that it matters even more what you are putting your faith in or where you are placing your faith in the first place. I can remember a youth pastor giving the analogy that if you have faith that a chair will hold you up but that chair is broken, then it doesn’t matter how much faith you have in that chair – once you sit in it you will always end up falling to the ground. And so it is the same with placing my faith in Christ Jesus – if He truly is the son of God then my faith will stand firm. And yet, the first section of 1 Corinthians 15 says that if Christ is not truly alive – not raised from the dead – then our faith as Christians is futile and we are “of all people most to be pitied.” And so I believe that my Christian faith all hinges on the fact that Jesus IS resurrected from the dead! For in Acts 2:31-32, Peter says to the crowd at Pentecost:”Seeing what was to come, [David] spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.”
Therefore, this verse from Hebrews 11 has helped shape the backbone of my theology, my view of God, in numerous and profound ways. It is my belief that Jesus was not just a good person or a great prophet but the Son of God and it is in this view that my faith solidly rests. For Matthew 16:13-16 says this: “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,“Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And I would have to answer the same.
So there are many layers to Hebrews 11:1 which have all shaped, and continue to shape, my own faith in Christ as well.
“Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Heb 11:1)