The life God has called each of us to has often been compared to a race. To finish the race, we need to look at those who have run it before.
[Steve Myers] Most people know of Hebrews chapter 11 as the faith chapter. But there’s something that follows I think that really is amazing. I put up on the board here “Amazing Race” because in chapter 12, after an emphasis on being steadfast in our faith and exhibiting faith, chapter 12 begins to help us to form our thinking in order to do that very thing. And so in chapter 12, here’s how it begins. It says, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let’s lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that’s set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 Hebrews 12:1Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
American King James Version×). So as God’s people, we are called to an amazing race. We’re supposed to come out of the rat race and run a spiritual race. And so, you might have heard of the TV program The Amazing Race. Maybe this one could be superlative – the Most Amazing Race, when you think about it in a spiritual sense. And in fact, as he points to this, he gives us some things to think about to help us to run the race properly and in a godly way.
Notice something – he says, verse 2, “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.” And then in verse 3, he says, “For consider Him.” So let’s consider this, let’s think about this for just a moment. How are we going to run that most amazing race, that spiritual race? Well, the first thing he says that we need to consider, the first thing that we can think about here, is that he says, “We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:3 Hebrews 12:3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.
American King James Version×). And of course, that’s pointing back to chapter 11, that – we call it, I suppose, the hall of fame of faith, the faith hall of fame, with all of these amazing people who ran this race well.
So to put it a little bit differently, we could consider the winners. Let’s think about the race and the people who have run that race and run it well. And we could say they’re the winners, they’re the ones that ran well. That great cloud of witnesses that are mentioned in the chapter before are really winners, because these are the men and women that have lived godly lives. They showed the way. They were obedient, they honored God. They set an amazing example on how to run this race. Their life was a witness. In fact, we could think of it as they set the pace in the race of life, in how to do it. And so when we look at their example, we can see that they are a witness. In fact, that’s an interesting word when it talks about a great cloud of witnesses. In one sense, the Greek can mean like a spectator, like they’re urging us on in a sense. But of course, it doesn’t mean that they’re looking down on us or anything like that. They’re not alive, they’re dead. They’re waiting the resurrection. Ecclesiastes 9:5 Ecclesiastes 9:5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
American King James Version×tells us that very thing. But it does mean that they bear witness. They bear witness – in other words, their life is a testimony. Their life shows the way of how valuable living a life of faith really is. And so by their lives, they set the example for us.
So I think that’s important as we consider this amazing race that God’s called us to. We don’t have to wonder, How do we live this life? How should I live the things that I have to experience? Well, when we look to this example and consider the winners in chapter 11, their example shows the way. Their life can be a pattern for us as we consider running the race that God’s called us to. And so, that’s the first thing as we run this most amazing spiritual race, we can begin by looking at those that have already gone before us and consider the winners.
So let’s start there, and we’ll continue next time on BT Daily. We’ll see you then.