For we cannot tarry here. We must march my darlings, we must bear the brunt of danger… —Walt Whitman, “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” from Leaves of Grass
It is said that Christopher Columbus struggled to find a crew for his ships because so many sailors feared heading into the unknown. Even when the royal secretary offered freedom for any prisoners who volunteered, the recruits numbered only a few. Fear of the unknown is powerfully paralyzing.
Death is one of life’s great unknowns, isn’t it? And we don’t have the option to refuse. For some, this is terrifying. For others, there is no fear. It’s as though they know the way has been cleared for them.
In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. (Hebrews 2:10)
The Greek word for “pioneer” is archegon, and it means “one who leads the way.” Sort of like a person bushwhacking through the jungle—his or her machete carving out a path. “Follow me, everyone!”
The picture we have of Jesus is a true pioneer of salvation, blazing His way through death so He could lead us into the land of God’s glory. The question then is what prerequisites are there for entering this glory land?
Just one: holiness.
Before you let this overwhelm you, I have great news: Holiness is something done to us by Jesus. It’s a gift of grace, and it’s the reason the fully divine Son chose to come to earth fully human.
What’s even more remarkable is that after we’ve chosen Jesus and He has cleansed us of sin, He is not ashamed to call us His. Notice how the verse above says, “in bringing many sons and daughters to glory.” God anticipates a large family. His goal is to populate heaven.
The great unknown will someday be a glorious place shared by us. Do we trust the path through death that Jesus has carved? Will we accept His invitation to follow? Will we exchange our sins for His holiness?
Suddenly, death has become quite the expedition.
Jesus, what grace that You not only lead the way through death, but also outfit me in holiness for the journey! Thank You for making death another adventure in faith. Amen.