The Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 13:1-6

Let Brotherly Love Continue

We have arrived at the final chapter of the Preacher’s sermon to the Hebrews.  In short, we have learned of our Lord’s high priestly ministry at the Father’s right hand, how he has gone into the true tent not made with hands with his own blood, and how he has done this not as an angel but as the Son of God who became the Son of Man while remaining the Son of God, and all for the purpose of offering himself on our behalf, the sinless one for the sinful ones.  All of this was planned from the beginning, the Old Testament saints prophesying and looking forward to the eternal city which we shall one day share with them.  In the meantime, they cheer us on the way; and we, with every reason to run the race set before us are called to persevere even in—and especially in—the face of persecution.

So as is customary and like others, the Preacher closes with a few words of exhortation.  The first six verses may be included under the heading: Let brotherly love continue.  And how is this realized?  1) Showing hospitality to strangers.  Hospitality was a huge value in the ancient world among pagans as well as Christians, and one that I fear has fallen on hard times among Christians in our day.  We must learn to be neighbors again.  And, the Preacher adds, “Some have entertained angels unawares” (e.g., Abraham, Lot, and Samson’s parents, to name a few).  2) We are to remember those who are in prison and mistreated knowing full well that we may be there one day if persecution ever rears its ugly head in America.  3) We are never to defraud anyone by taking their spouse and defiling the marriage bed; it is a most egregious form of treachery and one that destroys the wrongdoers even more than the victims.  The Preacher warns that God will judge such people, and that alone should be enough to send chills down one’s spine.  4) And finally we are to keep ourselves free from the love of money and be content.  Those who love money cannot help but hurt others as they scrap for every penny they can find and then tighten their fist when others around them need their generosity.  Instead, we are to remind ourselves that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Joshua 1:5), and that there is nothing man can do to us that will ultimately separate us from Him.

Hospitality, intercessory prayer and visitation, chastity, and generosity—these are forms of brotherly love that never go out of style and are sorely lacking today.  “Is this not the fast I choose…to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house…Then shall your light break forth like the dawn” (Isaiah 58:6-12).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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