Our theme for this year as a church is Hebrews 13:20-21. First listen to it in the (NKJV):
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
The phrase in v. 21: “make you perfect” (KJV), or “equip you” (ESV) or “make you complete” (Heb. 13:21) is the translation of one Greek word, katartidzo. To us in 2012 that word is Greek to us (as the expression goes) but to those of Christ’s time, it was a word rich in meaning. Depending on what context you used, there were four normal usages:
• Medically to doctors: this word meant “to set a broken bone.”
• Commercially to fishermen: this word meant “to mend a broken net” (see Matt. 4:21).
• Nautically to sailors: this word meant “to outfit a ship for a voyage.”
• Militarily to soldiers: this word meant “to equip an army for battle.”
To us in Christ’s Church this word means that Jesus, who loved us so much that He shed His blood, wants us to be all of these things. Think of that list in light of the Church:
• Jesus, as a Good Shepherd wants to kneel beside each of us tenderly set any “broken bones” in our lives, so we follow Him, running the race He has set out for us; but almost always He uses the willing people in His Church to do so.
• Jesus, Who said He’d make us “fishers of men” wants to mend the nets that are broken by our fears, our feelings of inadequacy, or distraction: so we can win lost people around us to Christ; but He almost always uses the gifted people in His Church to do so.
• Jesus, who calmed the storms on the Sea of Galilee for His disciples, wants to “outfit us for our voyage” to the very end of our earthly lives; but almost always He uses the willing people in His Church to do so.
• Jesus, our Captain, who called us to be good soldiers, wants to “equip us as His army” to win each spiritual battle we face; but He almost always uses the gifted people in His Church to do so.