July 15, 2021
Scripture: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
Observation: In the previous chapter, the author of Hebrews profiled men and women of faith who risked their lives to ensure that future generations would inherit a perfected faith founded in Christ (see my July 12th devotional). In chapter 12, we are told that these stalwarts of the faith now comprise “a great cloud of witnesses.” This unique expression, found only here, likely means that they are present with Christ in the heavenly realm. Still, it is unclear whether the word “witnesses” refers to their present activity (cheering us on) or their past acts of faith that serve as an example. Perhaps it is both. Regardless, we are not alone in our race to the finish line.
Takeaway: Our trainer, the Holy Spirit, is helping us strengthen our spiritual muscles and focus on Christ, who exemplified perfection by always following the Father’s direction and faithfully persevering extreme pain to finish the race marked out for him—and with a joyful attitude knowing that he would one day welcome you and me into his kingdom. Therefore, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Prayer: Father God, please help us to keep our focus on your Son and his faithful, unfailing mission and his love for us, that we might follow his lead and joyfully cross our finish line. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling