Today, the scripture reading directs our attention to the letter to the Hebrews, looking at chapters 9-12. Typically, I try to share some thoughts regarding what will be read. Today will be no different, except that I want to center on something. You may remember that in last week’s lesson, Tony directed our attention to Hebrews 12: 1-2, part of our reading for today. He did a wonderful job in reminding us that our Christian walk, which is not always easy, can be hindered by things like worry, fear, and of course, sin. He provided us with godly insight on how we can fight against these stumbling blocks. I would like to build upon his thoughts briefly.
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 . . . Hebrews 12:1
Before I say anything further, let me stress that our strength to finish the race comes from “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus is capable of bring us home if we place our faith in Him! The proof is in the “great cloud of witnesses” that surround us all. Of whom is the writer of Hebrews speaking? We need only to look at Hebrews chapter 11, the faith chapter. There we find a list of faith driven, God fearing people who finished their race: people like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah and the list goes on. That list includes those who were scourged, imprisoned, stoned, homeless. Like our journey homeward, theirs was not easy, but by faith in a sovereign God, they made it home.
We can look for ourselves in the scriptures and find people of faith that remained faithful in the most difficult times. We can look around and see people journeying home with us, faced with what seems to be overwhelming trials, yet walk in faith. Looking around us can help us realize some very important things about our Christian walk. First, I am not alone when it comes to adversity. Also, through the scriptures I can read of God’s faithfulness to those confronted with adversity. Finally, I can realize that it will be all worth it. Paul said it this way, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
Look around, both in the scriptures and those in Christ today. We are in so many ways surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Some have finished the race, while others race alongside us. Let’s finish the race!