Hebrews 11v32 – 12v3
32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets– 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.
36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated– 38 of whom the world was not worthy–wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (ESV)
- The Exhortation
The Christian life is a race – not a sprint, but a marathon.
It’s also described as a fight in 1 Tim. 6:12, but here as a race.
The writer says we must prepare for the race:
a. Lay aside every weight – even things that are good in and of itself (e.g. TV) that can rob our time and hinder us in the race.
b. Lay aside sin that clings so closely, which entangles us and weigh us down to the ground.
The Christian life is not easy – it’s demanding. But it has been set out before us by our sovereign God. He has put you in the race if you are a Christian.
- The Enabler
He has also provided the enabler – Jesus, the founder (author) and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12v2). The writer of the Hebrews was at pains to bring to his readers the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-4; Heb. 13:20-21). He is our Prophet, Priest and King – His general description in the letter to the Hebrews. We turn to Him for spiritual strength to run the race. He said in John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
The Apostle Paul said in Phil. 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Jesus will make sure that we as believers finish the race, and will help us as we cry out to Him while running the marathon of our spiritual race.
- The Example
Jesus came into this world and knows what it is to experience hostility from sinners.
Are you experiencing hostility and being persecuted for your faith? He knows what you are facing.
Christians are not weary or faint-hearted, but bold in and for the Lord.
Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (ESV)