Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep…
I. THE NAME OF GOD IS THE WARRANT FOR OUR LARGEST HOPE. God is the God of peace, and, therefore, He will, if we will let Him, make us perfect unto every good work. That, of course, must imply that the peace which is here ascribed to Him, as its source and fontal possessor, is that deep and changeless calm of an infinite and perfectly harmonious being which is broken by no work, perturbed by no agitations, and yet is no more stagnant than the calm depths of the ocean, being penetrated for ever by warmth and majestic motion in which there is rest. "The God of peace" wills to give to men something not altogether unlike the tranquillity which He Himself possesses. The hope seems altogether beyond the conditions of creatural life, which is tossed to and fro amidst change and agitations. How can the finite whose very law of life is change, whose nature is open to the disturbances of external solicitations, and the agitations of inward emotions — how can he ever, in this respect, approximate to the repose of God? And yet, analogous, if not similar, tranquillity may fill our hearts. When our wills are made pliable and flexible, no longer stiff and obstinate, like a bar of iron, to His touch, but bendable like a piece of dressed leather; when our hankering desires no longer go after forbidden dainties, but keep themselves within the limits of the Divine will; when we are ready for all that He commands or appoints, meeting the one with unmurmuring resignation, and the other with unquestioning obedience — then nothing that is at enmity with joy can utterly abolish or destroy the peace that we have in God.
II. THE RAISING OF THE SHEPHERD IS THE PROPHECY FOR THE SHEEP. I ask myself, Is it possible that I shall be delivered from this burden of corruption; that I shall ever, in any state, be able, with unhesitating and total surrender of myself, to make the will of God the very life of my spirit and the bread on which I live? And all the unbelieving and cowardly suggestions of my own heart as to the folly of trying after an unreachable perfection, and the wisdom of acquiescence in the partial condition to which I have already attained, are swept out of view by this one thing — the sight of a man throned by the side of God, perfect in holiness and serene in untroubled beauty. That is a prophecy for us all. We look out upon the world, or into this cage of evils in our own hearts, and are tempted to fold our hands and acquiesce in the inevitable. Alas! it is too true that " we see not yet all things put under man." Courage! Nothing less than the likeness of Jesus Christ corresponds to God's will concerning us. In Him there is power to make each of us as pure, as sinless, as the Lord Himself in whom we trust.
III. THE EVERLASTING COVENANT IS THE TEACHER AND THE PLEDGE OF OUR LARGEST DESIRES. Is it not a grand thought, and a profoundly true one, that God, like some great monarch who deigns to grant a constitution to his people, has condescended to lay down conditions by which He will be bound, and on which we may reckon? Out of the illimitable possibilities of action, limited only by His own nature, and all incapable of being foretold by us, He has marked a track on which he will go. If I may so say, across the great ocean of possible action He has buoyed out His course, and we may prick it down upon our charts, and be quite sure that we shall find Him there. Be sure of this, that within the four corners of God's articulate and unmistakable assurance lies all that heart can wish or spirit receive from Him. You cannot expect or ask more from Him than He has bound Himself to impart. You desires can never be outstretched as to go beyond the efficacy of the blood of Jesus Christ; and through the ages of time or eternity the everlasting Covenant remains, to which it shall be our wisdom and our blessedness to widen our hopes, expand our desires, conform our wishes, and adapt our work.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,