7 September 2007

Hebrews 13: 7-21

"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 for ever". (v.7-8)


As he comes to the end of his letter, the writer brings together some thoughts about the life of the Christian community. He focuses on leadership and worship, referring to past leaders (verse 7) and present leadership (verse 17). 

Leaders worthy of imitation have died, but Jesus Christ remains. All Christian leadership is set in the context of the supremacy of Christ, and is accountable to him. Real leaders are themselves led by Christ, but need the prayerful support of the community. 

The Letter to the Hebrews has two firm foundations - the Old Testament and Jesus Christ. After recognising the eternal presence of Christ, the writer brings together ideas about Jewish sacrifices with thoughts about his death, which took place 'outside the camp'. He died as an outsider, and the Hebrew Christians would have been seen as outsiders too. 

They are to share in his humility, but will receive the reward of a place in the heavenly city.

To Ponder

If you were Isaiah speaking to the world today, how would you encourage people to be humble before God?

"Pride goes before a fall." Can you illustrate that statement from your own experience or from the contemporary world? Do you see God in action in such situations?

Bible notes author

The Revd Richard Bielby

Richard is a supernumerary Methodist presbyter in Stockton on Tees. He is a part-time prison chaplain and also serves as a voluntary chaplain at Durham Cathedral.