Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 13

Jesus, the great shepherd

Hebrews 13:20

Hebrews 13:20-21 is a favourite prayer for many church leaders. They may work very hard to look after God’s people (here called his ‘sheep’), but they cannot do everything. So it encourages those church leaders to know that Christ is looking after his people. He is like a shepherd who looks after his sheep (Luke 15:3-7; John 10:1-18).

A shepherd is someone who takes care of sheep. Ezekiel chapter 34 explains how God is like a shepherd. A good shepherd gives special attention to any sheep that are weak or ill. He makes sure that the sheep have enough food and water. He defends them from wild animals and thieves. He leads his sheep (Psalm 23).

Christ, as the great shepherd, cares very much about his people. He understands their weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). He warns them when they do wrong things (Hebrews 12:5-6). And that brings them comfort as he leads them (Psalm 23:4). They must pass through some difficult places, but he has gone there ahead of them (Hebrews 2:14-15). He suffered death in order to overcome the power of death.

We have evidence that Christ is alive (Hebrews 2:4 and Mark 16:20; Hebrews 7:8; Hebrews 7:24). He had to die so that his blood would make our covenant with God certain (Hebrews 9:16-24). He has to be alive to serve as the priest of that covenant (Hebrews 7:25-26; Hebrews 5:6; Hebrews 13:8).

A covenant is a peace agreement (Ezekiel 34:25). That is why Hebrews 13:20 calls God: ‘the God of peace’. Here, peace means a right relationship between God and his people. That is the result of the covenant (Hebrews 8:10-12). And it will never end. It is as certain as the fact that Christ is God (Hebrews 1:8-12; Hebrews 13:8). It is so certain because it depends on God’s promises (Hebrews 6:17-18). And God’s word never fails.

Next part: A prayer for God’s people (Hebrews 13:21)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.