Hebrews 13:1–8, 12–19comment (0)
November 23, 2006
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: Hebrews 13:1–8, 12–19
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Love One Another
Hebrews 13:1–8, 12–19
Christians may have trouble loving some people, especially when that means loving them as though they were members of our family.
Some people are more difficult to love than others — those who are mean to us, who don’t seem to love us, who don’t try to understand us, as well as those who are different in any significant way.
Such incomplete love is unacceptable. God expects His people to love others — without exception. God wants us to relate to others with Christian love, in the ways spelled out in this week’s passage in Hebrews 13.
Love People (1–6)
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews called for the continuation of brotherly love among Christians. He then spotlighted several areas in which brotherly love will be seen: in hospitality, in concern for Christians imprisoned for their faith, in marriage and in the right relationship to material things.
As for hospitality, in the early days of the church (as in some places in today’s world), persecution drove many Christians from their homes. By extending hospitality to these Christians and to other traveling Christians, believers would be doing something similar to what Abraham did in Genesis 18, when he entertained angels without knowing they were angels.
Concern for Christians in prison (3) is another expression of brotherly love. It was not unusual for Christians to be arrested and imprisoned for their faith. To be identified with these prisoners was dangerous; yet brotherly love required ministry to them. In some parts of the world today, Christians suffer for their faith. We Christians in the United States need to pray for our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters and, as God enables us, we must minister to them.
Brotherly love also protects the sexual aspect of marriage. This requires sexual loyalty and sexual purity within the protective bonds of marriage. Sexual activity outside of marriage is destructive and sinful; sexual activity within marriage can be fulfilling and glorifying to God.
Furthermore Christian love motivates us to avoid monetary greed and to be content with what we have. Contentment does not come from material possessions, because they never satisfy the heart. Only God Himself can do that.
Imitate Leaders (7–8)
The term “remember” seems to suggest that these faithful Christian leaders were dead, maybe martyred, and should not be forgotten. What they taught should be remembered and passed on to the next generation of Christians; their behavior should be imitated. The leaders were gone but Jesus Christ of whom they spoke remains continually the same. Their lives pointed to Christ. Christian leaders come and go, but Jesus remains the same and it is Jesus who is the focus of our faith.
Perform Ministry (12–16)
The writer of Hebrews directed the attention of his readers to the sacrificial ministry of Jesus as an example for his readers and called on them to go where Christ did and to identify with Him by offering spiritual sacrifices that express praise, kindness and unselfishness. These New Covenant sacrifices include (1) verbal praise and thanksgiving to God and (2) the practical activity of meeting the financial needs of others. This is the kind of ministry motivated by brotherly love.
Assist Leaders (17–19)
Since former leaders are to be remembered and their example followed, current leaders are to be obeyed. When a minister of God is in the will of God, teaching the Word of God, the people of God should respect him and follow his leadership. It is his responsibility before God to care for God’s flock.
When a shepherd is faithful to his task, it is to the advantage of the sheep to follow him. We give evidence of brotherly love when we assist our leaders by following their leadership and by praying for them.