Monday 3rd December
“It is not how you start the race, but how you finish, that determines your prize” Anon
Wait!! Don’t give up!! You might have slipped at a hurdle but trust me you can get back up, you don’t have to stay down. If you don’t trust me then trust God and His word. The passage we are going to explore today tells of One who has already run the race and the best news is, He won!
The writer of Hebrews explains to his listeners the great truth about perseverance and patience on life’s race of endurance. It is not a sprint or 200m race but a lifelong race. Along the track there are many hurdles but none that cannot be overcome. In fact the writer starts but talking of many who have gone before us. The Greek word used for crowd is ‘nephos’, which basically means a throng/multitude that covers the heavens. The exciting thing about these ‘Heroes of faith’ is that they are all familiar people who have stumbled and got back up to run the race. These people are found in the previous chapter, chapter 11.
In chapter 11 we have people like king David, who murdered Uriah and impregnated his wife. Gideon who tested God 3 times before allowing himself to be used and Sarah who doubted that God would allow her to conceive. Yet all these people are commended for their faith. Why?? because they kept going. So verse 1 immediately quashes any doubts in our minds that we should give up because we have a ‘throng’ of witnesses who were humans just like us, stumbled but got back up and live in history as an example to us.
We are encouraged in the rest of verse 1 to take off every burden, sin and weight that holds us back from running. If that’s you, if there are things weighing you down, take a reality check!! Get rid of them. Put them at the feet of Jesus. Give them to Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7) and then you’ll be able to run freely again.
Notice another word of importance is the word endurance (ibomenos), which means ‘patience’. This again highlights this is not a race to see who can finish it quickest but one that you must never give up on. It’s not to say that we must stay idle or become lazy but rather RUN with patience.
The writer then helps us to re-align our focus. By looking at Jesus we not only take our eyes of our circumstances that make us trip at every hurdle but we have in Him One who has finished the race with excellence. Did He face the same hurdles we face? Yes. Did He stumble or sin? No. Verse 3 tells us that because He went through hostility and temptations, He can help us when we become weary and discouraged. Jesus knew what He had to do; He knew the end of His race was to sacrifice Himself for mankind. Yet He considered it His joy to carry on and run with ‘ibomenos’. His prize is that He now sits at the right hand of the Father and stands as an intercessor for us helping us to run ourselves. The prize, Heaven!!