“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, 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.” (Hebrews 13:20–21, AV)
In the previous devotion, I mentioned that any pastor worth his salt will love his parishioners. Thus, it makes sense for the pastor to pray for the parishioners. Yet, often our pastoral prayers are relegated to prayers for the pressing needs of the people. We pray for them to be healed from illness, to get out of financial crises, to get jobs, etc. Yet, should our prayers not go deeper than this? Should we not also pray for a greater blessing upon the people?
When I pastored, I generally tried to pray a benediction over the congregation at the end of the service. A benediction is literally “well saying.” It is to say something that is intended to bless the congregation. The Scriptures are filled with benedictions. There is perhaps no greater a blessing that might be pronounced on a congregation than that the Lord would grant to them what they need to fulfill the Lord’s glorious purposes in their lives.
The author of Hebrews is now ready to conclude the letter and he does so with a benediction, a prayer of blessing for his congregation. This benediction contains both an utterance of worship and a petition. The magnification of God in this benediction helps his congregation understand the transcendent essence, the infinite attributes of God and his mighty works on their behalf.
Here the author refers to the God of peace who through His infinite power raised the Lord from the dead and established the great New Covenant into which they who believed had entered. He then confidently goes on to petition God to equip the believers with every good thing they need to accomplish the will of God in their lives. The author realizes that God is working in them to accomplish His will and thus produce that which is pleasing to Him.
In the final part of the benediction, the author of Hebrews gives a reminder of the top priority for all. It is that the Triune God would be glorified in all He has chosen to do in us and through us for all eternity. The church is an eternal display of God’s glory. He has blessed us in every way to do that which will have an eternal impact.