August 20, 2012
The Same, The Sacrifice, The Shepherd
“That great Shepherd of the Sheep … everlasting covenant…”
Hebrews 13:8, 12, 20
Hebrews 13 serves as a fitting conclusion to the epistle to the Hebrews. In this chapter, the great clarion call to separation, to “go forth” to a rejected Christ, taking our place outside the camp, outside the gate, and outside the city with Him is given.
In it, we are reminded of the One Who is the Sacrifice (v 12), the Same (8), and the Shepherd (v 20) of His people. As the Sacrifice, our past has been dealt with. He has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (9:26). He has sanctified us and made us fit for God’s presence (10:10). Every blot upon the record of our past has not only been expunged, but has been blotted out eternally as a result of His one sacrifice.
As the Great Shepherd, our present is secure. His care and capability is beyond question. The skill of this Shepherd has never been equaled. Not one sheep has ever been, or will ever be, lost. He is the quintessential Shepherd of Psalm 23. His eyes know no slumber; His hand knows no infirmity. With consummate skill and tenderness of heart, He cares for each sheep individually and intimately. He is the Great Shepherd, not in contrast to the Good and Chief Shepherd; He is the Great Shepherd in contrast to all other shepherds. He can fulfill what none others could: “make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight.”
As the Same, we have a changeless, immutable God for our eternity. What a comfort that His character will know no change. Eternal ages will not see Him change: we will grow and He will seem greater and more wonderful as eternal ages roll; but He will be the same. It is we who will change. We will grow in our appreciation of all He is. Our eternity is secure for He will never change in His appreciation of us. He will set us before the throne with exceeding joy (Jude 24), a joy which will never ebb or abate for eternity. He is “the Same.”
Hebrew believers were being encouraged that all they needed was in Christ. But that does not mean it was exclusively for them. You and I have the very same Savior Who occupies the very same offices for us.
1. Read Isaiah 63:11 and compare it to Hebrews 13:20, 21. Do you think the Spirit of God is contrasting Christ with Moses?
2. Look at the three titles of our Lord Jesus Christ as Shepherd: The Good Shepherd (John 10), the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet 5), and the Great Shepherd. Look at them as not so much differing in the work which they emphasize, but the contrast with other shepherds in the passages.
3. Verse 20 is the only verse in Hebrews which refers to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. All other references are to the ascension and enthronement.