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Hebrews 13 : How we can live for God

v1 Continue to love each other like brothers and sisters. v2 Always remember to be kind to strangers. Remember to let them stay in your homes. In this way, some people have received *angels as visitors. But those people did not know that their visitors were *angels. v3 Remember those people who are in prison. Think about what that would be like for you. Think like someone who is there with those people in prison. Remember those who have troubles because of other people. Other people are doing bad things to them. Trouble like that could also happen to you. Think about what that would be like for you yourselves.

Verse 2 The Bible tells us about some people who received *angels as visitors. (See, for example, Genesis 18:1-21; 19:1-3.)

Verse 3 The writer is talking about Christians who had troubles. At that time, life was difficult for Christians. Many of them were in prison, and people were doing bad things to many other Christians.

v4 When people have married each other, everyone should remember that. Everyone should remember that it is a very good and important thing. Husbands and wives must not have sex with anyone else. Nobody should have sex with someone who is not their own wife or their own husband. God will *punish everyone who does not obey those rules.

v5 Do not want lots of money. Do not live like that. Be happy with the things that you have. Be happy, because God has promised to be with you.

  ‘I will never leave you;

I will never let you be completely alone’, he said.

[Deuteronomy 31:6]

v6 So we can bravely say this:

  ‘The *Lord comes to help me,

so I will not be afraid.

  I will not be afraid of anything that people can do to me.’

[Psalm 118:6]

v7 Remember your leaders, who taught God’s message to you. Continue to think about the result of how they lived. They really believed God; so copy their example. v8 Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday. And he will be the same always.

v9 Some people teach all kinds of strange things. Do not let them lead you the wrong way. God is very kind to us, so he will make us strong deep inside ourselves. It is good if we let him do that. Rules about what foods we eat do not make us strong like that. Those rules have never done anything good for the people who obey them.

Verse 9 Some people were teaching that Christians should obey certain rules about food. We do not really know which rules the writer was talking about. But the important thing is that food can only do good things for our bodies. Food cannot help our *spirits, because only God can help us like that. Only God can make us really strong inside ourselves.

v10 *Israel’s *priests worked for God in his special *tent, and they ate there. But we have a *sacrifice that they have no authority to eat from. v11 The *chief *priest brings the blood from the animal *sacrifice into the Most *Holy Room. He offers that blood to God because *Israel’s people have done many wrong things. But they burn those animals’ bodies outside the place where the people live. v12 For this reason Jesus also died outside the city’s gate. And God saw the blood that he lost. Jesus died there as a *sacrifice. He died there so that he could make people completely good and clean for God. v13 So we must go to him. We must be ready to go outside the place where everybody else lives. We must be ready for people to be ashamed of us, as they were ashamed of him. v14 Here on earth we do not have a home in a city that will always be there. But we are waiting for God’s city that will come.

Verses 10-12 *Israel’s *priests could eat some of the meat from animals that people brought as certain *sacrifices. (See, for example, Leviticus 6:26, 29 and 7:6-7.) This showed that they *shared in what the *sacrifice was for. But on a certain day each year, they offered a very special *sacrifice, for all the people. They killed animals and the *chief *priest took the animals’ blood into the Most *Holy Room. The *priests could not eat any of the meat from those animals. Nobody could eat it. They had to burn the animals’ bodies. (See Leviticus 6:30 and 16:27.)

That special *sacrifice was like a picture of how Jesus would give himself as a *sacrifice for us. And now Jesus has died for us. So now nobody needs the *sacrifices that belonged to the old *agreement between God and his people. Nobody needs those *priests who worked for God during the old *agreement. They have no authority to *share in the *sacrifice that is ours now. When we eat food, it makes our bodies strong. When we really believe Jesus, his Spirit makes us strong. So we could say this: we ‘eat’ Jesus when we believe him. When we believe him, we *share in his *sacrifice for us.

Verse 12 They killed Jesus outside Jerusalem city (see John 19:20). *Israel’s people thought that a place ‘outside the city’s gate’ was a dirty place. It was a place for someone that they refused to accept. It was a place where people were ashamed to go.

v15 So we should always continue to thank God. We should say how great and how good he is. That is our *sacrifice to him, because Jesus helps us. Then we will always be offering this gift to him while we speak his name. v16 Remember to be kind to other people. And remember to *share what you have with other people. God is very happy with *sacrifices like that.

v17 Obey your leaders. Do what they tell you. They continue to watch over your lives on God’s behalf. And they will have to explain to God how they have done that work. So, if you obey them, they will be happy with their work. Do not make them sad, because that would not help you.

v18 Pray for us. We are completely sure that we have done nothing wrong. We always want to do only what is right. v19 I want you very much to pray that I may come back to you soon.

v20 God can take away all difficulties and he can cause you to be without trouble inside yourselves. God caused our *Lord Jesus to become alive again. He did not stay among the dead people. When Jesus died, the new *agreement began. And it will continue always. Jesus is like a shepherd (someone who watches over his sheep). He is our great shepherd, and we are his sheep. v21 I pray that God will make you completely ready to *serve him. He will give you every good thing that you need for that work. And then you can do everything that he wants. I pray that Jesus Christ will do these good things in us on God’s behalf. Then we will make God happy. Everyone should say how great God is for all time and always. This is true.

v22 Christian friends, I ask very much that you listen patiently to my message. I have written this to help you so that you can be brave and strong. And this letter is not very long. v23 I want you to know about Timothy, who is like a brother to us. They have let him go out of prison, so that he is free now. If he arrives soon, I will travel with him to meet you.

v24 Say ‘hello’ on my behalf to your leaders and to all God’s people. The Christians from the country called Italy say ‘hello’ to you too. v25 I pray that God will be very kind to all of you.

Verse 24 We do not know whether the writer was in Italy with the ‘Christians from Italy’. When he wrote this letter, they could all have been together, somewhere outside Italy. Or the writer may have been with Christians in Italy and then he went to another place.

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