Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
We Have Jesus
Life can be tough. Sometimes it is so hard it challenges our faith and makes us feel alone. Living a righteous life in an unrighteous world is not for the faint of heart. Courage is needed every day to stand against the wiles of the devil and his minions of evil seeking to discourage us, stop us and destroy our hope. If Satan tempted the Son of God it should come as no surprise he fully intends putting forth every effort to tease me with the allurements of the world. Faced with this reality the heart can become tired of fighting, weakened from the years of battle and accepting defeat. One of the great blessings of the New Testament church is that we have a promise from God that we are not alone. He has given us a promise that is steadfast and sure confirming His love that there is a heavenly body watching over us and the face of Jesus Christ His Son standing at the finish line encouraging us to keep running. There is a powerful “THEREFORE” the Hebrew writer declares for those early Hebrew Christians who had grown faint of heart. We have a great cloud of witnesses that we can look to for strength because they finished the race receiving the crown and Jesus Christ is my Lord that I must make the author and finisher of my personal hope.
The Bible is a book of struggles overcome. Hope fills each page as the righteous from ages ago struggle in their faith to overcome the temptations of the world. Noah lived in a world so evil God destroyed it but he kept his faith. Abram left his home not knowing where he was going because he trusted in the uncertain future by the promises of a certain hope. Moses led a rebellious and often wicked people to the promised land with the strength of God’s love and forgiveness. David learned how deep God’s forgiveness was when Nathan stood before him unveiling his sin. Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel gained strength from their trials to stand for truth and preach the certain word of God’s goodness and severity. All of the saints testify to the grace of God and the overpowering love the Father bestows upon His people. These great stories and more are the clouds that surround us as the voices to cheer us on to lay aside the encumbering doubts that fill our minds. Knowing how they overcame will help us to lay aside the trappings of sinful doubt and run with endurance the race we must run.
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith when we make His life our life. He endured a cruel cross that I do not have to bear. His death was the greatest shame men could heap upon one individual and Jesus willingly took that shame so that I would be free from guilt. He died so that I could live and He came to earth so that I could go to the Father. Through the power of the resurrection He reigns at the right hand of the throne of God so that I can have a beacon of light to guide my weary steps. There is no reason to give up. With so great a cloud of witness that surrounds my life through the word of God and the face of Jesus Christ the Son of God urging me to keep on keeping on; how can I give up? The New Testament church is where these blessings are found. My brethren exhort me as we walk together – hand in hand – guided by the same cloud of witness and the same Lord – and one day we will enter our eternal home together when our victory is won in eternal life.