The New Testament letter to the Hebrews is concerned with showing the vast superiority of Jesus Christ over anything and anyone else. The recognition of that great fact is intended to keep believers from ever turning their backs on Jesus.
The writer of Hebrews, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, guides us along the following considerations: Jesus is superior to the angels, to Moses, to Joshua and the “rest” he offered and to the Aaronic priesthood.
The sacrifice Jesus offered, the temple in which He officiates, the covenant He brought in and sealed with His blood and the life He now lives which continually blesses us, are all superior to any other alternatives.
These lofty doctrines are not disconnected from our daily lives. Rather, they actually inspire our daily lives to ever increasing holiness and usefulness in both worship of God and service to others. The wisdom that comes from above shows us that the highest of spiritual truths is intended to lead us to faithfulness in the “lowliest” acts of service.
God does not call us merely to public assemblies of worship...not merely to contemplation of great spiritual realities...not merely to singing and praying. He does call us to all these things, but these are not the end of the lesson.
In light of the great spiritual realities, we are called to and empowered for a better kind of living. So we are not surprised (are we?) when we come to Hebrews, chapter thirteen, and read the subject matter introduced there.
Because Jesus is the greatest Lord we are to keep loving each other as brothers (13:1), open our homes to others (even strangers) and show hospitality, and remember folks in prison. Husbands and wives should honorably stand by their covenant to one another (13:4). We should not give in to covetousness, for we have a mighty God Who is all the help we need (13:5-6). We ought to follow our spiritual leaders who themselves are following Jesus (verses 7 & 17).
We should allow our hearts to be strengthened by the grace of God and not turn to all kinds of strange teachings which would lead us away from Him (v.9). We should be continually offering up praise (worship) to God, by the fruit of our lips (singing and speaking), and by the fruit of our lives (doing good and sharing with others, verses 15-16). All of these wonderful things are meant to flow through us as the results of our blood connection with our great Savior and Lord.
Now you may be feeling as I do when I consider the truths in that last paragraph...“I can’t live that way...I am not up to it!” And we would be correct that we need help beyond ourselves for living this “better life.” But the Hebrew writer has anticipated our need.
Listen to his insightful prayer, “May the God of peace, Who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Let this be our prayer and aim. We are all called by the gospel to begin and to keep pursuing the better life Christ brings which results in glory for Him and blessings for those around us!
Submitted and written by Doug Oakes, minister, Woodlawn Church of Christ, Zanesville; email firstname.lastname@example.org