Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hebrews 12 & 13

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes of Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV).

The word "therefore" is pointing back to chapter 11 (the faithful servants of God), but I think it can also point us back to the message of the entire letter. The author of Hebrews has given reason after reason for us to be grateful to Jesus for the work he did on the cross, and to surrender our lives to him. Now he is telling his readers that we have a job to do. The job is to live in light of this knowledge, in light of this gift.

God has "marked out" a race for us. In order to complete this race (or "task", as Paul puts it in 2 Timothy 4), we first have to fix our eyes on Jesus. He has run the race before us. He has been a faithful Son. Second, we have to recognize that sin, as well as other "weights" (ESV), serve to hinder our running. These need to be thrown off or else we will not finish well. We will be "weighed down" by the hinderances (anything that distracts us from our purpose of running) and tripped up by our sin. Finally, we need to remember the work of Jesus so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.

Father, I thank you for this letter, which, though written almost 2000 years ago, applies in so many ways to my life today. I thank you for the reminders of what my Lord, Savior, and King did for me on the Cross. May I live my life in a way that brings honor and glory to you, and may I be faithful in accomplishing all that you would have me to do.

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