Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord

God-pleasing Sacrifices

15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honourably in all things. 19 And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Benediction

20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

22 But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23 Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. 24 Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

25 Grace be with you all. Hebrews 13:15-25

As well as loving God we also ought to love one another as Christ commanded.  Let us also stay appreciative to the fact that while we were still in our sin Christ died for us and in his resurrection, we have the certain hope of eternal life by the Holy Spirit.

Verses 15 and 16

15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

We ought to praise and worship God in season and out of season.  This is not only dependent on our feelings but it also dependent on the objective historical truths that Christ died and rose again from the dead.  This gives us certain hope for our salvation.  A correlate of this is to share our love in practical ways as well by sharing with others from what we have.  As Bavinck would say, the fruit of faith is works. (See his Reformed Ethics volume 1).

Verses 17, 18 and 19

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honourably in all things. 19 And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.  19 And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Again, Apollos commands the believers to obey their parents. Don’t go against the grain by being negative towards their leadership when there is no reason.  We also have the correlate of the importance of the leaders who are expected to conduct themselves ‘honourably’ in the office that they were chosen to be in.  Even Apollos talks about being restored to the Church!  We can see lots of prison sentences going on in the background.  Perhaps Apollos at times was also taken away from the Church by force (By the authorities).

Verses 20-21

20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Near the end Apollos gives a blessing to these believers in Jesus Christ.  He finishes with an Amen.  But I am asking, why it has come now near the end of the letter but not the end.  Perhaps Apollos finished his writings and he forgot to mention Timothy.  I don’t need to know the reason because this is such a fantastic and beautiful benediction.  

‘Now the God of Peace’

This is an interesting phrase.  As you know the style of the book is not Pauline, but the theology certainly is.  The term ‘God of peace’ comes up in other Scriptures:

Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:33

Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Then the idea of ‘Shepherd’, Peter uses this:

25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25

It is also found in Isaiah:

11 Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses.

Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock?

Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them, Isaiah 63:11

The Eternal Covenant

3 “Incline your ear and come to Me.

Listen, that you may live;

And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,

According to the faithful mercies shown to David. Isaiah 55:3

In verse 20 then we see a picture of the Trinity directly or indirectly.  We have God the Father of love and peace sending his Son the great Shepherd of the Sheep into the world to reconcile His church to the eternal covenant by the blood of Christ.  In one of the references in the Old Testament we see the Holy Spirit in the Midst of His people. 

Because of verse 20 then when we reach verse 21 the Church is equipped to do God’s will because of Christ:

equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:21

Notice the ‘Amen’ (so be it! / Let it be!).

Apollos however wanted to add some extra stuff to his letter.  Like we sometimes do by saying PS.

Verse 22

In this verse Apollos reminds his readers that he wrote this magnificent treatise as a ‘brief letter’:

But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. Hebrews 13:22

As we have gone through this letter, you would have noticed that these believers were going through various trials and prison sentences.  To hear that Timothy is out of prison would have been a great encouragement for these believers.  Not all the leaders were dead.  The batten of the Gospel of Hope and life was being passed down from generation to generation:

Perhaps Paul was dead at this time by beheading, (Roman form of execution for Roman citizens) but Timothy and Apollos as faithful witnesses continued to spread the Gospel:

Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. Hebrews 13:23

Those in Italy greet the Church to whom Apollos was writing (Perhaps Jerusalem (my view)):

Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. Hebrews 13:24

Verse 25 ends with the blessing of grace.  This is also found in the Pauline letters:

Grace be with you all. Hebrews 13:25

For example:

18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you. Colossians 4:18

Reflection

We have now completed reading and studying the book of Hebrews.  It is an incredible piece of literature in the New Testament that is artistically and theologically a masterpiece.   From my point of view there is only one Gospel, but it can take on different forms.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are four Gospels written by four different people but influenced by one Holy Spirit.  For me Revelations is not just an Apocalypse following the Ezekiel tradition, but it is also explaining to us the authority of Jesus and what he did for us at the cross and it’s working out in human history.  The book of Hebrews is also about the Gospel message, but it takes a form of high Alexandrian Greek.  The message is the same and spells out who this Jesus is and those who reject the message reject God’s offer of salvation (although for humans it is a mystery because our understanding is finite). 

Here you have some Jewish Christians being persecuted for their faith.  Apollos writes into this situation, and he starts by placing the God-Man Jesus Christ at the heart of the Trinity:

“In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:2-4

  • Not anyone can sit at the right hand of the Father except the Son. 
  • He is also ‘greater than the angels’
  • ‘He is greater than Moses’
  • Although he is God, he took on human form as a real human being and humbled himself on the cross
  • Jesus is the High Priest in the heavens the earthly one is only a shadow
  • Jesus is the Perfect High priest the earthly ones only stay in place for a short period.
  • Jesus’ priesthood is like Melchizedek’s that lasts forever.
  • One sacrifice of Christ is all that is needed.  In the Temple animals needed to be sacrificed all the time.
  • We have a choice to choose Christ or judgement.

Thanks for taking the time to follow this blog.  I have enjoyed writing it and I get pleasure when I see people taking God’s word seriously.  Before moving onto a new Biblical project, the book of Hebrews gives us a question to ponder.

Who is Jesus?

But also, who is Jesus to you personally as a human being?

The Nature of Jesus

At this time of year with Christmas just around the corner John’s Gospel explains to us the nature of the Christmas story:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5”

John starts from the ‘beginning’ (creation). Jesus was actively involved in the creation of the world with the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Before the Fall the creation is described as ‘good’.  God loves his creation so much that in Christ there is a renewal through faith.  We have a choice with the help of the Holy Spirit, light or darkness.  People cannot comprehend the message because they are spiritually dead.  Christ came to save this lost humanity. 

who is Jesus to you personally as a human being?

We are sometimes blinded by our own self centredness.  Christ’s message goes out to the whole world.  In the book of Hebrews, we are all confronted by the message of Jesus.  Do we continue walking along our own path and end up nowhere or do we in Christ return to the lover of our souls.  Every religion and every person will be confronted by this message and they and us will have to make a decision about the Gospel message.  As Christians we are supposed to be ambassadors for Christ.  When an ambassador goes to a foreign country that particular country will look at the way the ambassador lives.  As ambassadors for Christ let us be ‘living letters’ to those who meet us.  Unfortunately, a lot of the time we are anything but ambassadors!  We are not perfect but we are being made perfect in Christ Amen.

One Response to “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord”

  1. smargaretcynthiayahoocom Says:

    Thanks Hasan. I have shared this commentary on Facebook for the friends on my list. I thought it was very interesting and will draw people to Jesus. xxxxx

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