Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. Grace be with all of you. (Hebrews 13:20-25, ESV)
Whereas we might put the benediction at the very end, the custom in this century was to put greetings and travel information at the end. It has long been debated who these Hebrew Christians were but the final words of this letter leave us somewhat dissatisfied. Was the author in Italy, perhaps Rome, and therefore sending greetings from Italian believers, or was he somewhere else and yet in touch in that locality with Italian believers who wanted to greet their fellow Italians? If the latter is the case then perhaps we have a clue that these believers were in Rome or at least from Italy. But that is only supposition. They did know Timothy, Paul’s trusted companion, but this author cannot be Paul since Paul always stated that he was the author of his letters, even signing the letter in his own hand (Galatians 6:11).
The author characterizes his letter as an encouragement, an exhortation, written briefly. We may have different standards of “brief” but for sure this implies that there was much more he could have shared. He hoped to come personally and do so.
His benediction extols the God of peace who resurrected Jesus, and it extols Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep whose blood sealed God’s eternal New Covenant with His people. He asked God to equip this congregation through Jesus Christ with the ability to do His will and so be pleasing in His sight. That is the way of the New Covenant. It is God’s demands being met because God works in us the ability to fulfill His demands (Philippians 2:12,13; Deuteronomy 30:6). This is what makes the covenant unconditional. We must obey to enjoy its’ benefits, but He makes us obedient.
Are you at peace with the God of peace? Is He at work within you equipping you to do His will? Is the Son, Jesus Christ, the love and joy of your life? Don’t accept anything less!!