Wednesday after the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Hebrews 13:1-25 (NKJV)
13:1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. 3 Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. 5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said,
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
6 So we may boldly say:
“The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.
15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. 19 But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
22 And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words.
23 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly.
24 Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.
25 Grace be with you all. Amen.
Throughout the book of Hebrews the writer has been pointing his readers to the Word and will of God. He encourages them to live out their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, especially in times of persecution and suffering. In our text he points us, his readers, back to the Old Testament to remind us where the will and strength to do this comes from. First, he reminds us of the Good Shepherd, “that great Shepherd of the sheep,” who in Psalm 23 provides abundantly all that His sheep could ever want or need. He also reminds us of the “God of peace,” the one who in Numbers 6:23-27 places on His people the Aaronic Blessing and says of it, “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”
The writer of Hebrews knows that his readers and Christians of all times constantly need reassurance and strength to remember that God is still with them.
Dr. Luther, in his explanation of the Third Article of the Apostles Creed, also points this out: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me…, enlightened me…, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church…, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith…. He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me…, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.”
We pray: Lord, we beseech Thee, grant Thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds to follow Thee, the only God. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.