Thursday in the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 13:18-25


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.

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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