Jesus Christ is the pioneer of our salvation. He is the one who has paved the way for us to follow. He is the one who has suffered much so that we are not left alone to suffer. He is the one who has given us hope, the vision of an everlasting home.
There are many titles used to describe Jesus within the Scriptures, but this is one of my favorites. Pioneer. I was born and raised in Indiana, but I am what I like to call a “displaced Kentuckian.” My grandparents moved to Indiana to find work, but we were never really left behind our hillbilly heritage.
As a child, I would hear stories of great pioneers like Daniel and Rebekkah Boone and I could almost see the rolling hills, feel the red clay soil, hear the lonesome coyote off in the distance and smell the sweet odor of logs burning in the woodstove. I imagined myself a pioneer like Daniel Boone or my own great-great grandfather, Columbus Roberts. Carving out a path through the wilderness for others to follow. Fighting off the dangers and sharing in the victories with my people. Praying to God and trusting that he would lead us home.
We are inspired by our pioneer ancestors. They give us a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, a feeling of hope. As a child I could almost feel the warmth of that wood stove as I imagined myself sitting beside my ancestors Columbus and Minerva listening to their stories of danger and hardship.
“Tell me about the time that snake bit you, Grandpa.”
“Grandma, what about when that bear tried to get into your pantry?”
Jesus Christ is the pioneer of our salvation. Our God is not a God who sits behind a desk on high and orders angels to do his dirty work. Christ is the pioneer leader of our salvation. He does not ask of us anything he has not already done. He does not ask us to go where he has not already gone. He has paved the way for us to follow.
Christ also calls us today to be pioneers of faith. We are to stand with our brothers and sisters and not be ashamed. Shame has no part in the Gospel. I think of my grandparents and the shame they felt when they moved to Indiana. How the people there would not accept them, calling them “dumb hillbillies”, scoffed at them when Grandma hauled her eight barefoot kids down the road to pick berries and hunt squirrel for supper.
Shame has no part in the gospel. Christ did not feel shame as he stood among the people, neither should we feel shame as we stand among our brothers and sisters in need. Neither should we feel shame when we are in need. Instead, in Christ, we stand in faith as we travel the road that leads to salvation. Christ is our leader. He is the pioneer of our salvation.