Today marks the end of our reading in Hebrews. Although not an easy read, it has been so rich in giving us a picture of who Jesus is and exactly what He did for us by giving His life.
The last three chapters of Hebrews are full of encouragement to continue in our following of Jesus and to finish strong. Chapter 11 is known as the Hall of Faith and it gives numerous examples of men and women who, through their faith, followed well and gave their all. These examples are meant to challenge and encourage us by letting us know that we are not alone in this journey – others have gone before us and have left an amazing legacy. Their courage, their sacrifice, their obedience has left a lasting record of what true faith looks like.
Chapter 12 begins with these incredible words of encouragement: “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. 2 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. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” Jesus is our greatest example of all and He is our one true source of help in living the Christian life. These verses contain the key to how to live this life: “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.”
My eyes are prone to wander. I often look to many other things to help me along this journey – books, wisdom of other people, my own thoughts and emotions, etc. None of these are necessarily bad, but if they are getting my focused attention more than Jesus is, I’m off track. I will only be able to finish this race with endurance by keeping my eyes on Jesus, learning all that I can about Him and taking on His thoughts as my own.
The rest of chapter 12 and chapter 13 are full of encouraging words on how to stay the course: love each other, look out for each other, listen to God, don’t allow bitterness to take root in your heart – strong words that if we heed them, will make all the difference in how we live our lives. I’m praying that we will all soak in these words from Hebrews. The advice is so practical and is available for us to begin applying right now. As we close out this book, spend some time thinking about the takeaways and how you can use them starting today.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach