HEBREWS 13:18, 24, 25
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Heb. 13:18a “Pray for us:. . .”
Though honored as a writer of holy writ, our author considered himself in need of prayer. Even the best of men are but men needing prayer. We can do nothing effective without prayer.
“Pray for us” is a statement of faith, indicating the focus of our lives is heavenward. Requesting prayer gives evidence we think all the blessing we need is obtained from God.
“Pray for us” is a statement of humility, implying we know our source of strength is not within our own natures. “We are weak, but He is strong.” Prayer fills our acknowledged weakness with God’s omnipotence. Prayer is a lightning-rod which pierces the clouds and draws down mighty and mysterious power from above.
“Pray for us” is a statement of love. Asking others to pray for us compliments them. The request reveals our confidence that their lives are in communion with God, and their prayers will be accepted by Him. Asking for prayer also implies you think the other person loves you, and cares about your well-being.
Heb. 13:18b “. . .for we trust we have a good conscience, in
all things willing to live honestly.”
He could have said, “We know we have a good conscience,” but chose to speak a bit more humbly. It behooves us all not to be overly confident of ourselves.
Our author did not ask for prayers while neglecting his duty. Prayer prompts, rather than displaces, the doing of right.
Heb. 13:24 “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and
all the saints. They of Italy salute you.”
Placing special honor on pastors, our writer sends a salutation, an expression of love. Some Christians of Italy were with the writer, and sent their best wishes. The author may have been in Italy, or a group from there may have been visiting with him.
In New Testament days, love between believers was strong enough to overcome the inhibitions of expression. Believers of today need to speak more often of their love for one another. The love in our hearts ought to be expressed by our lips. Frequent words of love increase love in both speaker and receiver.
Before leaving this verse, notice what it does not say. The author’s salutation is sent anonymously. The book ends with no writer’s name attached. The message was deemed superior to the messenger. The teaching was more important than the teacher. The subject superceded the author.
Anonymity was consistent with our writer’s attitude toward the written works of others. According to Westcott, Hebrews quotes the Old Testament twenty-nine times, and alludes to it fifty-three times. In all eighty-two instances, the human author was never named. Our writer saw God as the speaker in holy writ. Anything worth reading could be traced to God.
Anonymity was consistent with the writer’s attitude toward the preeminence of Jesus. This has been a major concern throughout Hebrews. Our author would not detract from the unique priority of Jesus. All glory, even in the authorship of the book, is given unto God.
Anonymity was consistent with the writer’s attitude toward the deeds accomplished by Christians. Your works are achieved by God “working in you” (13:21). Who wrote the book of Hebrews? By his silence, our author has replied, “God did.”
Heb. 13:25 “Grace be with you all. Amen.”
This wonderful, parting prayer condenses much into little. It is a shorthand way of asking for the continued mercies we ever stand in need of. May God always grant us grace, never justice.
We look unto Heaven for our joy. “A grain of grace is worth a world of wealth” (Trapp). The blessings which fall from Heaven are greater than any which proceed from Earth.
Grace is the fountain from which all blessings flow. Grace sought us, grace saved us, grace keeps us saved, grace gives us victory, grace will take us to Heaven.
Amazing Grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!. . . .
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;. . . .
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home. (John Newton, 1779)
May the good will of the Father, made possible by His Son Jesus, be continually applied to our lives by the Holy Spirit.
“Thank you, Father, for allowing me the privilege to preach through this wonderful book about Jesus. Thank you, Spirit, for the anointing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”