Episode #100: Imitate Faith
“Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you: and considering the result of their way of life, imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7)
When we read scripture, some of the things we need to consider are the author of the book and the intended audience. The book of Hebrews does not have a designated author other than the Holy Spirit. Many speculate that it could have been Paul, Barnabas, or Apollos. Some even speculate that a woman could have been the author. Personally, I believe Paul either wrote Hebrews or was highly influential, possibly even discipled the author. While we may speculate who wrote the book, we know the audience for sure.
Hebrews was written to Jewish converts to Christianity who were facing trials and persecution. They were being attacked, imprisoned, beaten, and misled by false teachers. Their belief in Jesus as the Messiah had put them on a difficult path and many were wondering if they had made the wrong choice. They witnessed the first disciples perform miracles in the name of Jesus. But, they also witnessed those same disciples go through terrible hardships in the name of Jesus as well. This is the audience and the message was simple but nonetheless hard to digest.
When the author says, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you”, he is calling to mind Peter, John, Paul, Silas, and Timothy. These men who were beaten for professing Jesus as the Messiah. They were imprisoned for refusing to deny Jesus as the Son of God. Yet, when Peter and John were beaten, they showed up the next day proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ. Paul and Silas were thrown into the darkness of the depths of prison. Yet, in that darkness they began to worship and sing praises to God. Struggle, trials, perseverance, and Joy were the mark of these men.
This is the example the author of Hebrews tells the audience to follow. There were no promises of fame and fortune, no hints at an easy life filled with all of the earthly blessings men often chase. They were not being called to a life of ease. In verse 8 we see the reason for the call for perseverance, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” This Jesus that came down from heaven, lived a sinless life, died on a cross, rose again, and ascended to heaven is unchanging in His character, unrelenting in His obedience to the will and the word of God, and faithful to His promises. Summing up the message to this audience we are encouraged to persevere and remain faithful to Jesus for He is worthy of all sacrifice and praise.
Let us be a people who consider the outcome of those who have led us, who have spoken the word of God to us and let us imitate their faith. Let us proclaim the truth of Jesus when we are beat down. In our moments of darkness, let our praises be lifted up so that those in the darkness with us are blessed. Let us not forget that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and that He is worthy of all we have to give and all we have to face.
Love Y’all! Be Blessed!