The Preacher now closes his sermon. If only preachers would or could preach like this again. To call such a sermon “strong meat” would be quite an understatement. But do not say that preachers have never preached such sermons since. On the contrary, sermons from the Early Church Fathers and monks from the Middle Ages, from preachers of the Reformation and the Puritan divines evidence the same kind of raw meat for listeners who expected and demanded nothing less. It is a sign of the times that preachers today lack the knowledge and skill while listeners lack the mental and spiritual fortitude to bear anything but warmed-over marshmallows—and that for not more than twenty minutes.
“Pray for us,” the Preacher says, just as the Apostle Paul pleaded on occasion in his letters. If these men begged prayer, surely we should do the same of one another. He then adds, “We are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.” No Christian could say anything better. To bear a clear conscience, to know that one is behaving honorably in all things, to seek God’s favor in every endeavor—this is the Christian’s task. And no sleeping pill will ever afford a better night’s rest.
The Preacher then closes with a benediction—a Latin word meaning, “a good word.” We are accustomed to seeing these in Paul’s letters and the general epistles. But the Preacher’s benediction in his sermon to the Hebrews is slightly different as he makes reference to the “the blood of the eternal covenant” which his sermon was all about. May the God of this Shepherd who is the one seated at the right hand, who shall never leave us nor forsake us—may this man, the Great High Priest, equip us for everything good as he works in us to do his will. For that is who he is and what he does. He does not leave us to ourselves; he never has. His entire ministry as our High Priest is about his service unto his people, first offering himself as our sacrifice, and now ministering to us from heaven through intercession. He has poured out upon us his Holy Spirit providing comfort, grace, and gifts as we struggle through this life. He grants us strength in temptation and encouragement through trial. We have a High Priest who knows us because he took upon himself our humanity and has taken that humanity with him to the Father’s side. There is no god like ours. Again, I say, he knows us.
Be sure and greet the saints next Sunday. All the apostles so ended their letters. There must be something to it.