The Great Shepherd!

sheep_7652cAlthough Hebrews refers often to the exaltation of Christ, this blessing in Hebrews 13:20-21, at the end of the book, is the one explicit mention of his resurrection. God raising him from the dead is crucial, both for your eternal salvation and for your daily life.

God brought Jesus back from the dead. God, through the blood of the eternal covenant, is the God of peace. God is the God of peace. He is angry with sin. Until his wrath is propitiated, there is no peace. Hebrews shows you how that peace is achieved. He brought back Jesus from the dead. Although this is the one direct reference to the resurrection in the book, the exaltation of Christ clearly presupposes it. The resurrection is essential to your salvation. And it is specifically the work of the Father. The contrast is with the blood of the old covenant, Hebrews 9:20; 10:4, which could never remove sin. The resurrection is God’s ratification of the covenant, his acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice for his people. This eternal covenant is an end in itself. It is the special relationship between God and his people.Log Out

The Father raised Christ as the great Shepherd. The work of being the shepherd rests on the Lord shepherding his people in the Old Testament, Psalm 77:20; Isaiah 63:11; Ezekiel 34. As Moses led his people through the sea, the new David, the Christ, by his resurrection, leads you from death to life. Christ was Shepherd in his life and in his death. His resurrection equips him for his continuing work. Christ was Shepherd in his life and in his death,.His resurrection equips him for this work. “Christ was raised from death so that we might be renewed to eternal life by the same power of God, and is the great Shepherd of all in order to watch over the sheep given to Him by the Father. . . . God raised up His Son in such a way that His blood, once shed in death has power to ratify the eternal covenant after His resurrection, and brings forth its fruit as though it were always flowing.” (John Calvin, The Epistle to the Hebrews, at 13:20). Are you following him as your Shepherd?

May God equip you. May God give you everything good. He will bring your salvation to completion. He calls you to service: the service of worship, v.15, and of obedience, v.16. God equips you, and makes you complete. Don’t fall into thinking that God is essential for initial salvation, but that you are somehow on your own for your daily Christian life. God operates to will and work his good pleasure, Philippians 2:13. The resurrection has practical consequences for your life. You are no longer a slave to sin. You are alive, free to worship and serve your Lord. You are made complete through Jesus Christ. Only in Christ can you serve God truly. Only through his intercession is your service accepted. The best that we sinners offer still needs his intercessory work. The living Christ is essential for your life as a believer.

How do you respond? To God be the glory! Only in Christ can you glorify him. He deserves glory for the work of salvation. You owe him all that you are, the best that you can offer. This morning you are engaged in glorifying him in worship. As you go through the week, you are busy giving him glory in the way you live each day. Amen! May it be so! Hebrews calls you to take hold in faith, to take hold of the mighty work God is doing in Christ Jesus.

God is the God of peace, for he raised your great Shepherd from the dead and obtained your salvation. May he equip you to serve him this week.

About jwm

I serve as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Newberg, Oregon.
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