Jesus is the guarantee of God’s love for us. Even while we are sinners, God demonstrated His love for us on the cross of Calvary. The cities of refuge were spread out across Israel so that any sinner could make it to a city of refuge in a day or less. This was so designed so that every citizen would have within reach a place where they could find protection and safety.  At the time of the writing of the letter to the Hebrews, the cities of refuge no longer existed in Israel.  But their illustrative value to Bible readers cannot be missed. Jesus took the place of the cities of refuge. Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses on our behalf. Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial system. No more blood sacrifices need be made. The Priesthood of Aaron has been superseded by the Priesthood of Jesus in the order of Melchizedek. You see, everything in the Old Testament is about Jesus! The Bible is still relevant today because it all offers mature insights into the person and work of Jesus which nourishes our faith.

In Hebrews 6:19, the writer talks about the most sacred of places in the Old Testament as a picture of where Jesus went on our behalf. He’s talking about the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant rested upon which the mercy seat lay. He writes, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain…” As any good seaman knows, anchors don’t always hold. It depends upon what it takes hold of and on the stability of that object. Jesus is our anchor! Jesus is the subject of the whole Bible. He is the physical embodiment of God’s promises from Genesis to Revelation. He is the Lamb of God that makes atonement for sin. He is the true king, priest and prophet. He is the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham and the seed of David. He is the full and complete demonstration of God’s love for us all. Priscilla J. Owens wrote the beautiful little hymn that captures this verse’s truth. One of the stanzas goes like this,

“We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.”

Once the anchor has dropped, we can no longer physically see it. But we know it’s there and when it finds a stable hold we can rest knowing that the ship is not going anywhere. Lenski writes, “As the anchor is out of sight, so the hope, promised and sworn to us, is out of sight. It is in the heavenly Sanctuary. It is the promised salvation through the all-atoning blood of Jesus.”[1] In the early church three images arose as acceptable symbols of the Christian faith. Clement of Alexandria around 200 AD acknowledges these three symbols as the Dove, the Fish and the Anchor. Brown observes, “Clement of Alexandria, an outstanding teacher in the early church, mentions the anchor as an appropriate device for a Christian’s ring: And let our seals be either a dove or a fish … or a ship’s anchor. It is sometimes found on early Christian epitaphs as a symbol of secure hope.”[2]

[1] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James (Columbus, OH: Lutheran Book Concern, 1938), 205.

[2] Raymond Brown, The Message of Hebrews: Christ above All, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 121–122.