40. Hebrews 13:20-21 - Farewell greetings.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21) ESV
(Unfortunately the NLT translation uses a word in the middle of this passage that is not exactly every day English, so I have used the ESV instead.)
The word that is common to nearly every New Testament benediction (literally a good word, finishing a letter or other writing) is peace. As this brief comment goes out from Dave’s web site it may be read, or listened to, by people in many different situations. Some of you will be able to live a quiet and peaceful life with little difficulty. But some of you may be reading this in situations that are far from peaceful. It is almost impossible to write anything to both groups.
Let those of us who dwell in peaceful parts of the world, offer our prayers for those who do not know peace. Our hearts go out to you. You may be struggling to relocate to another country hoping to find a great deal more peace than you are able to in the country of your birth and life so far. You are therefore a refugee. May you be sure of the Lord’s purposes for you and may you be able to follow him through thick and thin until you can find a reasonable amount of peace. Even as I write that I am aware that I should be exhorting you to find peace even in the most difficult of circumstances through your reliance on Jesus as your champion who initiates and perfects your faith. Remember he too suffered greatly for his faithfulness to the terrible task that his Father had sent him to complete. That is the theory. To actually put it into practice is no easy thing. May you be able to do so in rich and richer measure in the days ahead.
For those of us who do not labour under such difficulties the word from our writer is that we should do the Lord’s will, working on things which are pleasing in his sight because he has equipped us to do so. In many ways that is a much easier task. It is also a much easier task to avoid, to slide by, to overlook, to pretend we have not seen and understood what we should be doing.
None of us will ever be completely satisfied in our own eyes by what we have done in the days and the circumstances he has given us. He will be even less satisfied with us. Fortunately these are not the criteria by which he accepts us and loves us. Those things happen because the great shepherd of the sheep was seen to have completed (confirmed, or as the NLT has it ratified) his work through the blood of the eternal covenant.
May God’s grace be with you all.
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