Wednesday 16th November 2022


“Whatever you do to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do to me” – so Jesus said in Matthew 25.  Treat your fellow believers the very best way you can – and you may be in for some pleasant surprises!  One of the key aspects of Christian fellowship is empathy: understanding deeply how the other feels and getting close alongside them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.

Hebrews 13 leaves us with some very wise commands and directions.  We need to give a place of honour to ‘marriage’, since God himself created it – and because it foreshadows the relationship between Christ and his Church.  The penalty for disobedience is not trivial: “God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral”, (13:4).  Don’t allow yourself to be driven by a love of money but be content with what you have and trust the Lord for what you need.  Generosity is the God-given antidote for greed and materialism, and if we are willing, the Holy Spirit is willing to make us more prepared to give to others, than to spend on ourselves.

Remember the example of your leaders and imitate their lifestyles and faith (v7); have confidence in them and submit to your leaders’ authority (delegated by the Lord) because one day they will have to give an account to God for their role in your life (v17).  Make their role a joy not a chore, by your willing responses to them!

Identifying with Jesus and making his message known is a calling for all of us.  Our ‘sacrifice of praise’ is to openly make it known that we are followers of Christ.  But then – importantly – to do good and to share with others.

Apollos, the probable author of this letter (or whoever else it was), ends with the wonderful hymn of praise:

“Now 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”.  (vv20-21).

In signing off, the writer sends the greetings of “those from Italy”; this could well refer to Priscilla and Aquila, who were originally exiled from Rome with the entire Jewish community, met Paul and became Christians, and then met Apollos and preached the gospel to him (as described in Acts 18).  Apollos owed them his very life, therefore.

May God equip us now with everything good for doing his will.

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