Hebrews 13:20-21 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Spoken (or rather written) like a true pastor! The focus is on God, but the desire expressed is what every true Christian leader desires for those they lead. The Japanese translation is slightly different from the NIV, (once again) saying, “May Christ work His will in us so that you will be able to do His will, being perfect people in relation to every good thing.” The overall thrust is the same, but comparing the different wording can help us grasp it more completely. It all comes down to God making us into what He wants. I’m reminded of God’s famous lesson to Jeremiah, having him watch a potter at work. His rather “mic drop” statement there was, “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” (Jeremiah 18:6) What the writer here is doing is asking God to do what only He can do. He demonstrated His ability to do that by resurrecting Jesus, which was based on the covenant that He made first with Adam and then renewed with Abraham and David. We tend to forget that we currently inhabit only a tiny slice of eternity, and we feel that our current challenges are insurmountable. This is a reminder that God’s covenant of salvation didn’t start at Calvary, though that was the climax of it, but it was from creation, and God is going to fulfill it in spite of us. We are indeed to work for God’s kingdom to come through His will being done in and through us, even as it says here, but we aren’t to think for a moment that even when things seem to fall apart that God and His purposes have been defeated. This year has been a mess, with various plans and activities of evil coming out into the open. Whatever happens at this point, we must remember that we are under God’s eternal covenant, and that’s all the security we need.
This is a reminder I have needed in recent weeks. The past two months have been an emotional purgatory, so to speak, but they have certainly been a lesson in focus and trust. I am to proclaim the truth in love, standing in the truth whoever accepts it or doesn’t accept it and knowing that the outcome is in God’s hands. The media crank everything up to crisis level, and emotional exhaustion kicks in to the point that it’s hard to recognize a genuine crisis. I am to remember that I am God’s sheep and Jesus is my Shepherd, even as I am tasked with being an under-shepherd for the sheep in my care, and my Shepherd can do anything at all. I am to rest, relax, and rejoice in that assurance, not trying to dictate to Him what His will ought to be, but listening in all humility and obedience.
Father, thank You for this powerful reminder. Thank You for how You have grown me, and so many of Your children, in recent weeks. May we indeed recognize Your will and do it, in private prayer and public speech and activity, so that Your name may be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!