It is time for me to get on with it. I have a race to run. I need to be spiritually fit and able to finish it. Jesus has a goal for me to complete. I must never quit. Jesus is the one who shows me the way. I must keep my eyes on Him.
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running — and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! | Hebrews 12:1-3
- Look at Jesus the Messiah! He is “the author [originator] and finisher of our faith.” It was in “looking to Him” that we were saved, for to look means “to trust.” When the dying Jews looked to the uplifted serpent, they were healed; and this is an illustration of our salvation through faith in Jesus. “Looking unto Jesus” describes an attitude of faith and not just a single act.
- When our Master was here on earth, He lived by faith. The mystery of His divine and human natures is too profound for us to understand fully, but we do know that He had to trust His Father in heaven as He lived day by day. The writer of Hebrews quoted our Lord saying, “I will put My trust in Him” (Heb. 2:13). (The quotation is from Isa. 8:17.) The fact that Jesus prayed is evidence that He lived by faith.
- Our Master Jesus the Messiah endured far more than did any of the heroes of faith named in Hebrews 11, and therefore He is a perfect example for us to follow. He endured the cross! This involved shame, suffering, the “contradiction [opposition]” of sinners, and even temporary rejection by the Father. On the cross He suffered for all the sins of all the world! Yet He endured and finished the work the Father gave Him to do). Though the readers of Hebrews had suffered persecution, they had not yet “resisted unto blood”. None of them was yet a martyr. But in Jesus’ battle against sin, He shed His own blood.
- What was it that enabled our Lord to endure the cross? Please keep in mind that, during His ministry on earth, our Lord did not use His divine powers for His own personal needs. Satan tempted Him to do this, but Jesus refused. It was our Lord’s faith that enabled Him to endure. He kept the eye of faith on “the joy that was set before Him.” From Psalm 16:8–10, He knew that He would come out of the tomb alive. (Peter referred to this messianic psalm in his sermon at Pentecost, Acts 2:24–33.)
- In that psalm David speaks about “fullness of joy” in the presence of the Father. Also, from Psalm 110:1, 4, Jesus knew that He would be exalted to heaven in glory. (Peter also quoted this psalm—Acts 2:34–36.) So “the joy that was set before Him” would include Jesus’ completing the Father’s will, His resurrection and exaltation, and His joy in presenting believers to the Father in glory.
- Throughout this epistle, the writer emphasized the importance of the future hope. His readers were prone to look back and want to go back, but he encouraged them to follow Christ’s example and look ahead by faith. The heroes of faith named in the previous chapter lived for the future, and this enabled them to endure. Like Peter, when we get our eyes of faith off the Savior, we start to sink.
- Since the Messiah Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith,” trusting Him releases His power in our lives. I could try to follow the example of some great athlete for years and still be a failure. But if, in my younger days, that athlete could have entered my life and shared his know-how and ability with me, that would have made me a winner. Jesus is both the exemplar and the enabler! As we see Him in the Word and yield to His Spirit, He increases our faith and enables us to run the race.