Going Deeper 8-29-19

‚ÄčThe second reading for Pentecost 12…

Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16   Let mutual love continue.  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.  Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.  Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.  Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never leave you or forsake you."  So we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can anyone do to me?"  Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  ...  Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

 

The writer of Hebrews has devoted 12 chapters to laying out some very important theology and its implications for living as followers of Christ.  Much of what had been written up to this point has explained the radical changes to the broken “sin-management system” that had developed in the Jerusalem temple.  Jesus had come as the one true High Priest, and the sacrifice He made changed things forever: He sacrificed Himself as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”… just as His cousin John had prophesied.  Jesus was both the priest and the sacrifice.

 

This final chapter is going to review the core implications of all of this.  The last two verses lay it out: “Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.  Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”  In response to what God has done for us through Christ, our lives our now focused on worship and on service.  Our first responsive sacrifice to God is one of “praise.”  We worship God on our own, and we gather with others to offer praise.  And then, when the worship is over, the service begins.

 

What this service looks like is beautifully described in this text.  It is all about “mutual love” for one another within the body of Christ.  And what a powerful witness this provided in the earliest church, where others were moved to exclaim, “See how they love one another!”  But that is only part of the picture.  It is a great witness to love our brothers and sisters within the family of Christ; it is an even more powerful witness to love and “show hospitality to strangers,” and to care for those in prison or are being persecuted, and to “do good and to share.”  This is our calling a followers of Jesus.

 

May we who are so beloved by our Father God and brother Jesus be empowered by the Holy Spirit to let that love overflow through us to one another and to all!

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church

Wellington, Colorado

 

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."