We have often seen how powerfully this author urges his readers, in such passages as Hebrews 2:3, 4:1, 5:11-12 and 10:19-31. Perhaps we have asked why the author felt able to write in this manner. But now, at last, the answer becomes clear. The author knew his readers well. He really loved them. And he felt desperate that they should make progress in their relationship with God. They needed to know God better and to trust him more. Otherwise, they would never be able to deal with the terrible events that must soon happen (Hebrews 12:26-27).
In fact, many Christians were already suffering greatly (Hebrews 10:32-33; 12:4 and 13:3). And perhaps the author was one of them. He loved his readers, and he wanted to be with them soon. But something was preventing him. And he urged them to pray much, because he needed Godís help in order to visit them.
We could guess that the author was in prison. His friend Timothy had just been in prison (Hebrews 13:23). If the author was in prison, he was suffering because of his relationship with God. In Hebrews 13:18, the author insisted that his conscience was right. So, people were speaking false things against him. Or, enemies were causing trouble for him.
We know that the authors of several Bible books wrote from prison. Those books include Philippians, Colossians, 2 Timothy, Philemon and Revelation. When Christian leaders could not speak to the Christians, they sometimes put their messages into long letters instead. Perhaps that is the reason why we have the Book of Hebrews. Even if he was in prison, the author wanted to use his time well. But he very much more wanted to be with the people whom he loved. And he urged them to pray that God would make that possible.
Next part: Jesus, the great shepherd (Hebrews 13:20)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.