22 My friends, I have written only a short letter to encourage you, and I beg you to pay close attention to what I have said. 23 By now you surely must know that our friend Timothy is out of jail. If he gets here in time, I will bring him with me when I come to visit you. 24 Please give my greetings to your leaders and to the rest of the Lord's people. His followers from Italy send you their greetings. 25 I pray that God will be kind to all of you! ~ Hebrews 13:22-25
Today, we come to the final words of the great epistle written to the Hebrews. With deep affection, the writer of this letter has throughout urged his readers to not drift away from the Lord Jesus Christ nor to be fearful of the persecution that came with being defined by Him.
In v.22 of today's passage we read, "My friends, I have written only a short letter to encourage you, and I beg you to pay close attention to what I have said."
In this verse the unknown writer of this book gives one final exhortation to his readers to be faithful to the truth. He wrote, "pay close attention" which is a present middle imperative meaning to be patient with the truth for oneself. This insists on deep personal involvement with the truth for oneself. And, the truth has been personified in the Lord Jesus Christ. So, knowing Him for ourselves must be our paramount goal.
I have discovered that when I get impatient with God's work in my life, I am in great danger of missing His blessings and falling for less than His best for me. Patience is critical for God's truth to be born out in our lives. And, it is imperative for us in that situation to pray for His panoramic perspective, instead of our limited one. I am learning that as the intensity of the moment arises in any given moment in my life, my self-will rises with it. His patience, when I wait for it, has been known to be the needed sentry that is useful at helping me to arrive upon God's will for my life.
We must be careful to be wise when conflicts arise in our lives. If we are not careful, we will handle these moments in the energy of our flesh. And then, we will be sorry because when we jump too quickly to conclusions, we are in the greatest danger of missing what the Lord has for us in any given situation. Sometimes, the most spiritual thing we do in a day is to wait upon the Lord.
In v.23 of today's passage we read, "By now you surely must know that our friend Timothy is out of jail. If he gets here in time, I will bring him with me when I come to visit you."
It is clear according to Ezekiel 36 that God has put His Spirit within us, and has caused us to walk in His truth. This means the inward working of the Holy Spirit in our lives enables us to hear the promptings of God with our hearts. And, since He has promised to lead us via the Holy Spirit, we do well to expect Him to speak. We also do well to listen to and obey His leading. And, the best way to modulate our heart's ability to hear the voice of God is by being in His word daily.
The Bible is God’s message through which He speaks to us in tandem with the Holy Spirit. In v.23 of today's passage Timothy is mentioned. Yes, this is the same Timothy who was discipled by the Apostle Paul, and he, as a result of obeying God, had been locked up for preaching the gospel. Timothy was an example to these young Hebrew Christians of the truths the writer of Hebrews was giving in this book. The dying world wants to shut down the proclamation of the living God. This is why they seek to suppress the truth, hoping to distract man from the truth.
In v.24 of today's passage we read, "Please give my greetings to your leaders and to the rest of the Lord's people. His followers from Italy send you their greetings."
The Lord Jesus had established His church in Italy through converts who has heard Peter's message in Acts 2. Interestingly, the word used here which we translate “leaders” refers to those who taught and who lived out the Word of God. Notice the leadership was plural. God has prescribed it to be this way because there must be accountability among the leaders. In His word, God provides a structure to strengthen the church’s confidence that when the Word is faithfully read and heard, God’s voice will be heard and God's will will be known.
In v.25 of today's passage we read, "I pray that God will be kind to all of you!"
The word "kind" is the word "grace." Only by God’s undeserved favor can we pursue, understand and know the truth. The writer of Hebrews knew these folks would need God’s grace to be defined by the God of the Bible. And, once we are being defined by God through our obedience to His Word, God's grace is still needed because there should never be anyone who is puffed up with pride due to our success. It’s by God’s grace that we are who we are.
The resounding message of the book of Hebrews is we must cling closely to the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, we must be realistic with the fallen nature that is still within us and recognize that we will not always be faithful to do what the Father tells us to do. This is why the Lord Jesus came, to do all that the Father told Him to do. And, our hope is not in what we can do, our hope is in who the Lord Jesus is and what He has done on our behalf. The Lord Jesus is God's final spoken word on all matters of life. And, in order to know the blessing of His truth lived out in and through our lives, we must walk with Him in personal relationship every day.