Hebrews – Chapter Thirteen XXXIII

by Ed Urzi

“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).

After respectfully exhorting the members of his audience to pray on his behalf, the author of Hebrews led by example in praying for his readers here in the passage quoted above…

“In a lovely benediction which captures a number of the major themes of the epistle (e.g., peace, blood, covenant, Resurrection, Shepherd, equip), the writer expressed confidence in our Lord Jesus as the Great Shepherd of New-Covenant people, through whom God was able to effect His will (equip is katartisai, ‘to prepare, make ready for use’; cf. Eph 4:12) in the readers and in himself. This indeed is what he prayed for his readers.” (1)

In addition to this reference in Hebrews 13:20, the New Testament Scriptures identify God as the “God of Peace” on several other occasions (see Romans 15:33. Philippians 4:9, and 1 Thessalonians 5:23 for additional examples). That list includes the following quote from Romans 16:20…

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (CEB).

For some, these references to the “God of peace” coupled with the act of crushing an enemy, may seem inconsistent. Here is how one source addresses that objection…

“Skeptics often object that God cannot be a ‘God of peace’ since the OT portrays Him as a God of war who ordered people to be killed. These characteristics, however, are not incompatible. The Lord loves peace, but He also combats unrighteousness and those who act contrary to His purposes. People can be the same way—peaceful by nature but willing to fight when times call for it.” (2)

Finally, this portion of Hebrews also contains the only direct mention of Jesus’ death and resurrection within this epistle. While our author has alluded to Jesus’ sacrificial death at several points within this letter, this explicit reference serves as a final reminder to his audience to persevere in the face of adversity. Then, as now, the God of peace who can raise the Lord Jesus from the dead is certainly capable of acting on behalf of those who face opposition in its various forms.

(1) John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Bible Knowledge Commentary [p.812]

(2) Ted Cabal et al., The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), 1838.