Chapter 13 of Hebrews is full of reminders of what has been written earlier in the letter as well as a reminder of things that they were taught on earlier visits.
In keeping with the rest of the letter, most of the “reminders” seem to continue the theme of actively living their faith. To be mindful and careful not to be distracted by “new” teaching which is inconsistent with what they have already been taught, particularly teaching which seems to take them back to their Jewish roots and customs which have been shown to be inferior to the Sacrifice of Jesus and are only symbolic of what was promised when he came.
In particular they (we) are to Remember to:
- welcome strangers in your homes – while this is aimed primarily at being hospitable to fellow believers, it is also a reminder of occasions in the Old Testament (eg Abraham) where he gave food and rest to some travelers to discover that they were angels in disguise. They did not have “churches” and mostly met in peoples homes and risked persecution. We should not hesitate to help someone in need.
- those who are in prison – many people had been put in prison for their faith and falsely charged and ill treated.
- those who are suffering – again those who are being mistreated for their faith, but of course also those who are struggling with difficult circumstances of life.
- Marriage is to be honoured – God has ordained a standard of respect and morality which the believer must follow.
- Keep your lives free from the love of money – money in itself is not wrong but the believer is reminded not to seek after it, to be content with what they have.
- your former leaders – the leaders who brought Gods word to them initially and to follow their example. Don’t go back to the old ways or follow “new” teachings which compromise their belief in Jesus. This was aimed at Jewish Christians who were being drawn back to the Aaronic priesthood rules or following new rules about foods or ceremonies
- always offer praise to God – our sacrifice of worship and praise are our offerings to God in confessing him as Lord
- to do good – because this pleases God as an expression of our thankful and changed hearts to share with others the blessings he gives us
- your current leaders – pray for them and respect them – don’t make it difficult for them, even our Political leaders who may not be believers command respect – they will be held accountable by God.
- Pray for Us – in this instance the request was from the writer of Hebrews and the fellow believers with them – lets just pray for each other that we will have the strength to run this race to the end.
We can use the prayer in verse 21 which is also a prayer of blessing;
May the God of peace provide you with every good thing that you need in order to do his will, and may he through Jesus Christ, do in us what pleases him. And to Christ be the glory for ever and ever! Amen.