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. ~ Hebrews 13:20
Today, as we near the end of our study of the book of Hebrews, and our attention is directed to the One who is behind any success that you and I may experience in our walk with Him. It is the all-wise and all-powerful God who makes us who we were meant to be. After all, we are His idea, we are His creation. We have all lived long enough to realize we can not function on our own. We must be connected to our Creator if we are to realize the life we truly desire.
God desires to give us what it takes to do what He has called us to, and, my experience has been that He has done just that. In fact, God does this by making us more and more dependent upon Him. And, as we grow in this way, we mature in our ability to trust Him. This is the abundant life the Lord Jesus died to give us: less of me and more of Him.
Today's verse reads, "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..."
This prayer in today's verse is a summary of the whole book of Hebrews, and, it outlines all that we need to accomplish that which the Lord calls us to in this world. This prayer begins with "the God of peace." Notice the emphasis is on the source of the peace, the God of the Bible. And, there are two types of peace that we need: peace with God and the peace of God. The God of the Bible is the source of this peace, He is the maker of this peace, and knowing His peace enables us to know Him. And, it is one thing to know His peace and it is so much more to know Him.
The primary result of the evil first introduced to man in the Garden of Eden was our loss of peace with God. Of course, we lost our relationship with God, but, we lost that because we lost His peace. The initial peace that comes from having our consciences wiped clean grows as we get to know God better. And, when we grow in our understanding of the enormity of His love for us, our souls begin to rest in His sovereignty and wisdom. We begin to understand that He really does make all things work together for our good. This is why the writer of Hebrews exhorts us to fix our eyes on the God of peace, for only He is able to meet us at the level of our deepest needs.
According to today's verse, the peace we experience with God is the product of the fact that He "brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus." We know the God of peace because of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Someone once said, "Because of the empty tomb, we have peace. Because of His resurrection, we can have peace during even the most troubling of times because we know He is in control of all that happens in this world." There is no greater act in all of creation than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. His resurrection is the capstone of the Christian faith! The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is God’s proof to all who wonder if Christianity is the only true way to God and heaven. It has never been matched anywhere else in the universe at any other time.
The next phrase in Hebrews 13:20 provides us with that which keeps us from straying away from God: "...the great shepherd of the sheep." It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the great shepherd promised in Ezekiel 34:23-24 which reads, "23 After that, I will give you a shepherd from the family of my servant King David. All of you, both strong and weak, will have the same shepherd, and he will take good care of you. 24 He will be your leader, and I will be your God. I, the Lord, have spoken."
As our Shepherd, the Lord Jesus laid down His life for us, His sheep. Thus, He is the Shepherd- Priest who offers Himself as a sacrifice. The whole book of Hebrews affirms His greatness because of that last phrase in today's verse: "the blood of the eternal covenant."
The original plan of God from eternity past has never been upset or detoured despite all the twists and turns throughout the ages of man. The New Covenant as predicted in Jeremiah 31 has been ratified by the blood of the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. It was His blood that satisfied the perfect demands of the holy God. It was His blood spilt on His cross that guaranteed our salvation. And, this covenant is eternal.
Therefore, we must not be distracted from the Lord Jesus as our Shepherd-friend. Of all God’s animals, sheep are the least able to take care of himself. David said, "The Lord is my shepherd." He didn't choose something other than Shepherd, like an ambassador, who, when he speaks, everyone stops to listens. No, David chose the metaphor of the Shepherd and His sheep to describe us because only the Shepherd notices when His sheep are in danger. We have His attention and all His resources to fulfill His call on our lives. Simply trust Him and watch what He will do in and through your life, today!