World English Bible translation
13:7Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God, and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith. 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 13:9 Don't be carried away by various and strange teachings, for it is good that the heart be established by grace, not by food, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.
In this section of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the author is concerned with the obligations that Christians have toward their fellow man. They should be hospitable to strangers. They should care for those who are in prison and those who have been ill-treated. They must keep the marriage bed pure and their hearts free from the love of money. Now, he concludes the most important of these admonitions, remember your leaders.
In every Christian community that the apostles established, they went out of their way to establish men who could continue in their absence. Jesus and His disciples wanted to establish not just men and women of faith; they wanted to establish communities of faith. Any community, in order to continue from one generation to another, needs strong leaders. Now there is no doubt that in every real sense, God is the leader of these communities, but God works through men and women in this world. When God leads a community, He will lead them through men and women of faith.
This principle can be seen in the way that God has dealt with His people throughout all history. Abraham was the leader of a huge household. Moses was a strong leader that led a people from slavery into being a great nation. David was a young man that went from shepherding a flock to leading a country to glory. Throughout the course of the nation, God raised up men and women to lead His people. He gave them strength and discernment. He drew them closer to Himself so that they might demonstrate the things of God to His people.
This does not mean that leaders of God's people do not make mistakes. Abraham, Moses and David are all examples of leaders who made mistakes, sometimes tragic mistakes, while in the service of God. Leaders today are not less prone to making mistakes, even while trying to serve God. Nor does their propensity to make mistakes mean that they are less worthy of our respect.
God deals with people the same way today that He has always dealt with us. God does not change. Those that lead us to Christ are worthy of our respect. We should not be carried away with strange teachings but should always strive to remember our first, purest faith.
Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. God leads His people by sending His own lamb. That lamb leads God's flock to further pastures, each one a little further along than before. Christ is the penultimate leader of God's people, but there have been many others and there are many lesser leaders that God is using even today. Our goal should be to allow each one of these leaders to teach us what they know of God and faith. We must learn to respect them for their faith and sympathize with them in their weakness.
Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Let us follow where God will lead us through faith.
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