A very good morning to you my precious family and friends
Hebrews 12:1-2 says “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”
There are times where life seems like a battle. There is a struggle going on that, at times, brings us down. We try to set aside time to pray, but somehow never get to it. We set aside time to read scripture, and something else grabs our attention. Does this sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. It happens to all of us. The devil wants us to think that we are alone in the fight. In the wilderness an animal that is alone is easy prey. He is looking for easy prey.
The Letter to the Hebrews is a sermon of sorts that describes those who are considering leaving the faith. The persecution was hard, and they were seeking an easier way. Likewise, this world is not kind towards Christians. In many places of the world Christianity is illegal, but yet flourishes in those areas.
Today’s verses encourage us to keep going and run this race with endurance and that we must also examine our lives for sin, and confess those sins. Our Lord Jesus is awesome and will forgive us for anything we have ever done.
“The Author and Finisher of our faith” - The Lord Jesus is the first and the last as an example of faith or of confidence in God - occupying in this, as in all other things, The Pre-eminence (superior), and being the most complete role model that can be placed before us. The word “author” – (Greek is archēgon)- means “the source, or cause of anything; or one who makes a beginning”. In Acts 3:15 and Acts 5:31 says, “Author or Prince” and in Hebrews 2:10 says, “Founder or Captain”.
We are challenged to look to Him, as if at the Greek games there was one who stood before the runner who had previously carried away every palm of victory; who had always been triumphant, and with whom there was no one who could be compared.
The word “finisher” – Greek teleiōtēn- corresponds in meaning with the word “author.” It means that He is the completer as well as the beginner; the last as well as the first.
Louis Zamperini, was a pilot and his plane crashed in the Pacific in May 1943 and was given up by the Army Air Corps for dead. He and his pilot survived 47 days on a raft by eating birds, fish and a shark. After being captured by the Japanese he was tortured and spent 28 months in a Japanese prison.
Louis was a former college star athlete and Olympic runner; he was aiming to get back into competitive running when he became an alcoholic. He said “It got so bad that I would come home and not know where I had been. My wife was ready for a divorce.” She had heard Billy Graham in his first crusade in Los Angeles, convinced Louis to go and hear him. He went and committed his life to Christ. Even in his 90s, Louis was still actively serving the Lord.
The story is told of an important race at an event where Louis ran in preparation for his participation in the Olympics. Right after the starting gun, he fell. With determination, he picked himself up and took off. The crowd wrote him off. He didn’t have a chance. But he kept going. On the seventh lap he caught up with many of the other athletes. Coming in the home stretch of the eighth lap the crowd stood to their feet and cheered as Louis moved up on the front runner and then passed him to win.
“What a thrill to hear the cheers and applause of your own home crowd,” said a friend. “Weren’t you excited?” “I didn’t hear them,” he replied, “I thought only of reaching the goal.”
What determination! What purpose! What a sense of direction! There are too many Christians running life’s race who unfortunately have no idea of the goal. They are just aimlessly jogging along without any purpose, any effort, any hope of victory.
As believers we are never alone and have each member of the body of Christ. More importantly, we have the Lord Jesus who is with us every step of the way and promised to be with us until the end of the age. He never goes back on His promises. He loves you and died for you. We are never alone. We must keep running with endurance and remain faithful until the end.
Above the great cloud of witnesses is the great King Himself, Jesus our Lord; and, although some doubt may prevail concerning the ability of the other witnesses mentioned to behold our trials, there is no doubt about this in regard to Christ. Indeed, He does see, know, understand, and eternally intercedes on our behalf that we might indeed win the prize.
The Lord Jesus is on our side. He died for us, sees our trials, is sympathetic with our condition; and His holy desire is for our glorious success. He suffered and was tempted in every way as are we; but He prevailed and passed through such things to joy unspeakable and full of glory; and looking unto Him, as here admonished, is the means of finding grace to follow His blessed example. "Looking unto Jesus" means focusing all of one's spiritual vision upon the Lord; for it is true of us, no less than of Peter in Matthew 14:30, who as long as he looked to the Lord walked on the sea water, but when diverted his attention he began to sink. So Christians must keep the Lord in view, and they shall prevail over every trial.
So my fellow brother and sister, run with perseverance, with persistence, keeping on no matter what happens. How? By fixing our eyes Jesus, that is the answer. Why? Because He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He began it and He finished it, completed it. He is the pioneer. He has gone on ahead. He is also the perfecter of faith. He Himself ran the race. He laid aside every weight, every tie of family and friends. Every restraining hand He brushed aside that He might resolutely walk with God. He set His face against the popular sin of unbelief and walked on in patient perseverance, trusting the Father to work everything out for Him. He set the example.
“For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame.”
We must agree that the marathon Jesus ran was a marathon of love. The last several hundred meters of the marathon with nails in His hands and His feet, and a spear in His side, and a crown of thorns on His head, was the greatest act of love that has ever been performed in the history of the world because He was dying for our sins, not His own.
So my concluding plea to each of us is: Get to know our Lord Jesus better by spending more time with Him. Make Him the Supreme Treasure of your life — until He is the all-satisfying joy set before you at the end of your marathon.
If He becomes that for you, three things will happen:
Your joy, even in the sufferings of this life, will overflow.
That joy will sustain a life of sacrificial love for others.
And that joy-sustained love will make Jesus look like the all-satisfying Saviour that He is.
Let us PRAY
Lord Jesus, there are times that I feel alone on life’s journey, but I know that is not the case. I thank you for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are there for me and fighting beside me. Thank you for always being there and for loving me. Help me to run with endurance the race set before me, looking to You Lord Jesus. Help us to be able to say with Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who loved His appearing”. Lord I look forward to hearing You say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant”. We love You Lord. Amen.
Much love in Christ from Maurice and Margaret