Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Vision (9.30.16): Now the God of peace ... make you perfect ...

Devotion taken from last Sunday morning's sermon on Hebrews 13:20-21.

Hebrews 13: 20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Here at the close of Hebrews (13:20-21) we find a prayer.  It may be broken down into three simple parts:

First, there is the subject or actor:  The God of peace (v. 20).

Second, there is the action that is requested:  make you perfect (v. 21).

Third, there is the object of the verb:  you (v. 21).  The “you” here originally referred to wavering Hebrew Christians and, through the miracle of the inscripturation of the Word, it is applied to every generation of believers down to this present time.

Let’s meditate on this petition:  “Now the God of peace … make you perfect…”

The verb here is interesting.  There is another verb which means to perfect or be perfected.  It is teleio-o.  It has the sense of to be mature or to reach moral perfection.

But the verb here in Hebrews 13:21 is katartiz-o.  You can hear the root of the English word “artisan” in there.  It means to render, to make sound, to make complete.  It is also used in Greek to refer to mending or repairing something that has been broken or rent.  In those cases it means to make complete or to restore.

This verb is used in Matthew 4:21 and Mark 1:19 to describe how James and John were mending their broken nets.

In 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul uses this verb to speak of his desire that the fractious Corinthians have no divisions among them and be “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

In Galatians 6:1 Paul uses this verb to urge that “if a man be overtaken in a fault” that those who are spiritual among them should “restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.”

In 1 Thessalonians 3:10 Paul speaks of having prayed night and day for those brethren that God might “perfect what is lacking in your faith.”

Think again now of the context of this book and of the original recipients:  wavering Jewish Christians.

Their profession of faith might have appeared in their own eyes and in the eyes of others as something broken, torn, un-useable.  But the inspired author prays to a God who told the prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to a valley of dry bones, to a Christ who told a lame man to take up his bed and walk and who told dead Lazarus to come forth from the tomb, to the Father who raised Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the Sheep, from the dead.

He prays that that same God will “make perfect” these hearers.  The God of peace is a God who mends, completes, and repairs beleaguered disciples. 

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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