The God of Peace
“ Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20
The book of Hebrews, like Mark’s gospel, hits the ground running. It’s a frenetic pace from beginning to end. It begins with the declaration that Jesus Christ, through whom God the Father made the world and now speaks, is the heir of all things and the radiance of the glory of God. Talk about jumping into the deep end of the pool!
Some say the book of Hebrews is a massive exposition of Psalm 110, insofar as Jesus is a better high priest than even Melchizedek, who’s name is translated, “King of Righteousness.” The theme of Jesus’ superiority runs consistently through the entire letter. So how do you conclude a letter that oozes the all sufficiency of Jesus Christ? By taking your readers to the three great blessings that summarize New Testament theology: Peace, Resurrection, Great Shepherd.
God is proclaimed to be the “God of peace.” God is at peace with sinners, and sinners are at peace with God. Romans 5:1 reminds us, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God…” When sin entered the world through Adam, man became alienated from God and strangers to His kindness. There is nothing peaceful about alienation. Nothing gentle about being a stranger. But that’s what sin had done, and God could not allow alienated sinners to enjoy his presence, unless they come into His presence as ‘covered’ sinners. The unregenerate will know God only in His vengeance. Without grace, not one of us would know Him in His peace. Spiritually speaking, we are at peace with God because we are covered in the righteous deeds and holiness of Jesus Christ, which God both requires and provides for us as a gift of His grace. Therefore, God is called “the God of peace” because His vengeance has been turned away by the Divine Covering of Jesus’ blood.
This covering did not come cheaply. It required the ‘blood of the eternal covenant.’ Its cost was the life of God’s beloved son. The cross is the crucible of God’s justice where penalty was paid. That’s why we can never move our hearts and souls beyond the centrality of the cross. At the cross, where Sacred Death occurred, we get Jesus’ holiness, he gets our filth. But we were not made for death. His death, therefore, would have meant nothing had he not risen from the grave. Resurrection is the pinnacle of the victory and accomplishment of God “…who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus.” If the cross is the crucible of Justice, then the empty tomb is hallowed Mercy.
He who was brought up from the grave does not occupy an obscure corner of heaven. No, he sat down at the right hand of God in glorious ascension to serve as our Great Shepherd. Interesting, isn’t it, how Jesus referred to Himself as the ‘Good’ shepherd? But now, at the right hand of God in perpetual exaltation, He is called our ‘Great’ shepherd! The cherubim shout “holy, holy, holy.” As our great shepherd, He leads us by the hand into that angelic fellowship, where His own holiness should be our greatest joy.
As your Great Shepherd, may He grant you the very precious satisfaction that He is ‘working in you that which is pleasing in His sight’ until He completes His work on the Day of Glory.