Follow Christ’s example
Follow Christ’s example
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:1-3
The writer of Hebrews begun chapter 12 with the word “therefore.” This word refers to the previous chapter where the writer enumerated the examples of Old Covenant believers as well as those whose names were not mentioned that maintained confidence in God in spite of persecution and affliction. Then with this list of witnesses, the author of Hebrews again admonished his readers to persevere in the conflict of their faith. Followers of Christ living in the time of the writing of the book needed to hear this encouragement. They were facing tremendous persecution promoted by Emperor Nero. But the author admonished them to keep their eyes on Jesus. The challenge is to keep going in faith and hope. Faith is not optimism or self-reliance positive thinking either. It is not an intuition. It is not sentimentality. Faith is a solid conviction trusting in promises written in God’s Word that makes the future present and the invisible seen. Faith has at its core a massive sense of certainty in the blessed hope. Christians should be encouraged by looking to the victorious examples of the witnesses from the past. They are cloud of witnesses for they are looking and cheering us to fulfill the promised redemption of God. Christians needed to be reminded that they are in a life and death struggle and it makes a big difference to remember the price the Savior paid at Calvary; “Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up” (v. 3). In the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, faith found its most complete expression and realization. He has, indeed, run the perfect race before us. He ignored the disgrace, humiliation and suffering of the cross. He provided us an example of what true faith is and its proper expression. He maintained absolute confidence to the Father and patiently endured crucifixion. In the same way, Christ will perfect the faith of His followers who place their confidence in Him. He is the beginning and end of their faith. We are admonished to consider our experience in the light of Christ’s example and be encouraged by His victory.