Hebrews 13:20-25… 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
The closing verses of Hebrews reveal at least three aspects of God. First, He is “the God of peace.” Christian peace is better than serenity. Peace from God is the quality of salvation He lovingly provides to those who believe in His Son Jesus Christ. Christ obtained peace between God and His elect through his death (Rom. 5:1). His wrath has been satisfied in Christ.
Second, God brought Christ back to life – “the great Shepherd of the sheep.” Jesus’ blood is the blood of the “eternal covenant” which God made with Abraham in the OT. Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of all that God promised to Abraham, and that ultimate fulfillment will be complete following his second coming and his 1,000 year reign upon the earth. The greatest display of power ever revealed by God was his raising of Christ from the dead. Christ’s blood inaugurated the New Covenant – a covenant superior to the repeated blood offerings of the old.
Third, God “equips” His people for the work they will do to glorify His name. He’s not working through the church to please the people; He does so to glorify Himself! To “equip” means two things: “to make complete” and “to restore, repair, or mend.” It’s the same word used of the disciples who mended their fishing nets (Matt. 4:21). The meaning here is that God equips people to not only believe in His Son, He also repairs them (continually forgives) when they stray. This must have encouraged those who had briefly compromised their witness for Christ and so enabled them to lift their drooping hands and strengthen their weak knees (12:1-17).
The writer closes with an urgent plea to heed his exhortation. He basically preached a sermon with ink and paper calling for single-minded devotion to Christ as Lord and Savior. Whereas Paul had warned about those who would one day not endure sound doctrine (2 Tim. 4:3), the writer of Hebrews urges them to “bear with this word of exhortation.” His “brief” letter takes less than an hour to read, but the doctrines it presents could take volumes to talk through. Now the audience had something by which to get them back into the race by fixating on Jesus.
The personal references to the author, to Timothy, the leaders and members of the local church, and the Italian Christians who wish to convey their greetings, all point to the value of Christian fellowship and brotherly love (13:1). The Hebrews were to cherish it while expecting the return of Timothy (v. 23) who had been imprisoned for his faith (just like his mentor Paul). Christian brothers are priceless in sharpening each other (Prov. 27:17) and providing support.
Food for Thought
“Grace be with you all!” (13:25). Now come to the throne of grace (4:16), and believe in Christ who tasted death for us all (2:9). Let us not outrage the Spirit of grace (10:29) or fall short of it (12:15). And let us not fall away from grace (6:4-8) but be strengthened by it (13:9). God’s grace brings eternal life in the future and peace in the present. Those who depend on God’s grace have full assurance of faith (10:22), will never be shaken (12:28), and have God’s unlimited resources to help them in time of need (4:16). Christ’s blood cleanses our consciences from dead works in order to serve the Living God through the Holy Spirit (9:14). Amen!
1) Three Aspects of God’s Character: (13:20-21)
a. He is peace – not serenity but quality of salvation He provides thru Christ (Rom. 5:1).
b. The Giver of Life – he brought the Shepherd back to life, who gives life to all others.
i. Blood of the “eternal covenant” (cf. Abraham)
ii. Not like the blood of goats and bulls.
c. He “equips” His people to glorify His name.
i. He’s not working through the church to please the people
ii. He equips: “to make complete” and “to restore, repair, or mend.”
2) A Closing Urgent Plea (22-25)
a. Read Hebrews; it’s brief
b. Heed Hebrews; distinguish yourself from the rest (cf. 2 Tim. 4:3)
c. Take Note of Faithful Brothers (23-24)
d. The importance of grace (25)
i. Come to the throne of grace for help in time of need (4:16)
ii. Believe in Christ who, by grace, tasted death for us all (2:9).
iii. Do not outrage the Spirit of grace (10:29) or fall short of it (12:15).
iv. Let us not fall away from grace (6:4-8) but be strengthened by it (13:9).
v. God’s grace brings eternal life in the future and peace in the present (13:20).
vi. Those saved by grace have full assurance of faith (10:22)
vii. Those saved by grace will never be shaken (12:28)
viii. By grace, have your conscience cleansed from dead works (9:14).
Introduction, Argument, and Outline
· So many adherents of the church have settled for an understanding and superficial association with the Christian faith. Yet it was to arouse just such persons from the lethargic state of compromise and complacency into which they had sunk, and to incite them to persevere wholeheartedly in the Christian conflict, that this letter was originally written.
· Purpose: To warn Jewish Christians against apostasy to Judaism.
· Theme: “the absolute supremacy of Christ—a supremacy which allows no challenge, whether from human or angelic beings.