Summary: The great benediction in Hebrews encourages us to take advantage of Easter.
“The Road to a Batter Life: Take Advantage of Easter”
A man named Gianni Versace was being interviewed about his successes in life. He concluded, “I’m happy to live, I live intensely, and I don’t have regrets.” Then he was asked if he was religious. His expression changed to a mischievous grin. “Yes, I believe in God, but I’m not the kind of religious person who goes to church, who believes in the fairy tale of Jesus born in the stable with the donkey. That, no – I’m not stupid. I can’t believe that God, with all the power that he has, had to have himself born in a stable. ... it wouldn’t have been comfortable!” (1) He failed to take advantage of Easter; God, the Father of Jesus, didn’t fit his perspective of life. If only he had understood and responded to this wonderful benediction in the book of Hebrews, chapter thirteen, verses 20-21; it tells how to take advantage of Easter.
First, LET GOD EMBRACE YOU. Verse 20; “May the God of peace...” God wants to embrace us WITH PEACE. Peace is a major concept throughout Scripture. The Old Testament word – shalom – is more than the cessation or absence of war. It encompasses all our daily relationships - with the world around us, with God, with others, and with ourselves. It stands for wholeness, well being, and harmony. Yet God is seldom referred to as a God of peace; rather He is seen as a God of power, war, strength, the mighty warrior. But in the New Testament this harmony and well being are associated with God. The New Testament begins with angels singing hymns of peace and leads to a picture of celebrating the unbroken union with the Father. Jesus said (Jn. 14): “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
No matter what you’re feeling today, no matter how turbulent your life, no matter how tempestuous the storm that swirls around you, no matter how shaky or fragile your relationships – God wants to embrace you with His peace. Take advantage of Easter.
To be sure we understand this peace the author continues: let God embrace you WITH HIS ETERNAL COVENANT. “…who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the Sheep…” God brought Jesus back from the dead for the sole purpose of allowing us to be at peace with God. God had promised to forgive when the proper blood had been shed. Jesus’ blood paid the price. As the Apostle John put it (I Jn. 4:10), “…God loved us and sent his Son as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away our sins.” GOD IS FAITHFUL TO FORGIVE. No matter how grievous you feel your sins are, no matter how heavy your load of guilt, because of Easter you can be forgiven. As Paul later wrote (Rom. 8:1 GNT) “There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus.”