Tug boats did not exist in the second century A.D. Instead, when larger ships could not enter the harbor because of extreme weather, smaller boats were sent ahead. These smaller boats carried the anchor through the breakers inside the harbor and dropped it there, securing the larger ship which would then follow. These boats were called forerunners. Without them, the ships would not make it to the safety of the harbor, but instead be victims of the storm.
Today, Forerunner is a fitting brand name for GPS system. However, I also found this picture of a “Bristol Channel Cutter Forerunner” which doesn’t carry an anchor into the harbor but does take up the idea of going ahead, being the first, assuming that others will follow.
Christians also have a forerunner. We, like the large ships wish to be in a safe place, but we cannot get there on our own. Our sins are too great. The writer of Hebrews speaks of the promises we have of being in the presence of God, then he says,
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever. . . . (Hebrews 6:19-20)In these verses, Jesus is described as the One who went before us. He is like a runner boat that has taken our anchor into port and secured it there. The harbor is our safe haven where we are secure in the presence of the Lord.
As my forerunner, Jesus has made possible my entrance into the presence of God and eternal safety. Peter describes how He did it:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18)When Jesus died on the cross, He took my penalty for sin. Then He rose from the dead and lives forever. He has already brought me into the holy place of God’s presence, yet one day I will sail from this life into that great harbor and be with Him forever.
The Greek verb translated as “He might bring” describes the purpose of what Jesus did. This verb was often used when someone was being introduced and the noun form of that word refers to the one making the introduction. During the time Christ was on earth, officials in the ancient courts controlled access to the king. When these officials were convinced of a person’s right of access, they would then introduce that person into the king’s presence.
That is what Jesus does for me. In fact, He even said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). He secured my right of access by dying for my sins, and He is my forerunner who leads me into the Father’s presence and eventually into my eternal home.