Saturday, August 21, 2021

Hebrews 13: 17 – 25

Exhortations

If you have been following the devotions you will know the first twelve chapters, we have been told, again and again, that we live in the new covenant. Jesus is once for all. His sacrifice, His priesthood, His suffering and death is once for all: once for all men, all sin, all time! No other sacrifice is needed. Chapter 13 starts a whole new section where we Learn about how you and I need to respond.

We are being watched. We are being watched by God, of course, of how we live for Jesus. And, the world is watching us too.

This week the author will reiterate the requirement for believers to have confidence in their church's leaders (v. 17), always submitting to their authority. It is God who ordains the leaders of the church. Hebrews doesn’t say, "Obey when it seems good to you"? it mentions no qualifications; it just says obey and submit. This is part of God's chain of command within the church. On the other hand, it is also mentions that leaders should have (Vs 19 )a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.

Essentially, during the pandemic, let us appreciate the instructions that come from the church, support and encourage each other in worship and in doing good. Because it is our duty to God to obey, for Christ rules us through them.

Benediction

At this epistle's end, we find the author’s pastoral benediction. The author in his final words, gives a summarized doctrinal position of his "Hebrews" letter: (1) God is a God of peace; (2) God raised Jesus from the dead; (3) Jesus was "that great Shepherd of the sheep" made possible by the "blood of the eternal covenant"; and (4) therefore, may Jesus "equip you with everything good for doing his will.” (13:20-21).

The lesson is readily apparent to anyone who understands the gospel of God’s grace. As sinners, we're helpless before him. Our only hope comes from a Savior. We need to depend on Christ, the great Shepherd of His sheep (v. 20). What a confidence we have in Jesus! He is the God who has sealed an ‘everlasting covenant’ with us, by the blood of the Shepherd. And, He works within us.

The idea that God "works (equipping us) in us" is the key to understanding our life experiences. Some events in life are unhappy, but that doesn't mean they have no purpose. There is a reason, though we may not know it now. And all the glory for the equipping and the working goes to Jesus Christ. When all else may slip away, hold tight to the God of peace, the Great Shepherd and live for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Suggested prayer

Lord, thank You for equipping us for every good work according to Your greatness. May our actions be pleasing to You. Help us to use our time rightly in doing the works that glorify You. In all things, may we give you the honor You are due. We pray this in the powerful and personal name of Jesus. Amen.