May 27, 2011

Saturday after the Fourth Sunday after Easter


Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 146, 149, Num. 24:22-25, Heb. 13:17

Evening - Ps. 148, 150, Is. 55, Eph. 6:10

Commentary

Today we complete this journey through the book of Hebrews.  The book has constantly kept our minds on Christ.  It has shown us from the start that Christ is the supreme and final revelation of God, and that we can only come to God through Him.  Having shown us that Christian Jews are to leave Judaism as surely as Christian Gentiles are to leave their former religion and come into the Church, verse 13 encourages us to not only join the Church, but also to honour the leadership and structure God has placed in it.  Being a Christian is not a life of splendid isolation, and those who believe they are under no Biblical injunction to join and attend Church have seriously misunderstood the Bible.  The Church is the Body of Christ and abides with Him and in Him now and forever, and, as long as we abide in this world we are not to forsake her services (Heb 10:25).

Furthermore, the Church is not anarchy.  It has structure and organisation, which includes men called to shepherd and teach the flock.  Every person in the Church is a servant of Christ, and, in that sense, is called to minister to the body.  Some are ordained to a unique ministry of teaching and preaching the word and leading the Church for the perfecting of the saints and the edification of the Body (Eph. 4:11-14).  Thus we are told to "obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves" (Heb 13:17).  We are to conduct ourselves in such a way that when they give an account of their ministry among us it will be a joyful report of our progress in Christ, not a sad report of our stubbornness  and murmuring.  

We are also to pray for our ministers to be faithful to us and to the Scriptures (13:18).  A minister's authority is not absolute.  He is not the Shepherd, he is an undershepherd.  The flock does not belong to him, it belongs to Christ.  So he only has authority to lead the flock according to the clear teachings of God as revealed in Scripture.  Hebrews ends with an exhortation to honour the ministers of the Church, and a greeting from Christians in Italy.