Looking To Jesus…

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Our Verse of the Day come from the opening passage of Hebrews 12, and there are some thoughts I want to share from it:

Hebrews 12:1-7 (NIV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as his son.” (Citing Proverbs 3:11-12) Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children.

Verse 1 begins with a reference to those people of faith who throughout the millennia of human existence manifested and exercised their faith in God.  Read Hebrews 11 for a powerful recounting of the ancient ones who were commended for their faith. The inspired writer asserts that these worshippers are notable witnesses of the one true God … the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! And we are encouraged to join them in the faith … to throw off any remaining doubt and to seek the righteousness and holiness of God for our lives.

Verse 2 shares how we can begin the walk in a steadfast and enduring faith. We need to look no further than Jesus.  He is the originator … the initiator … the author of faith! Likewise, He is the One who will complete … finish … perfect our faith in God! Indeed, it was for the joy of bringing us to salvation that Jesus willingly and lovingly endured the cross at Golgotha (Aramaic) or Calvary (Latin). How profound is that thought – Jesus faced His crucifixion with joy. It is incomprehensible on a human level!

Verse 3 encourages us to see the life of Jesus as motivation to persevere in our faith! He endured the cross with joy because through the lens of eternity He saw our redemption and reconciliation with the Father.  By comparison, the inspired writer noted that we have not resisted sin to the point of shedding our own blood. Too often we cave to temptation even though God will provide a way out so you can endure it. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 10:13)

Verses 4-7 address the discipline of God … the testing of our faith.  The inspired writer cites the wisdom of Solomon in this regard; and he admonishes us to endure hardship as discipline because it comes forth from God’s unfailing and everlasting love for His children!  For we in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, how have been called according to His purpose. Indeed, through suffering and hardship, the Father is conforming us to the image of His Son. (Cf. Romans 8:28-29) And remember: “Son though He was, Jesus learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. (Cf. Hebrews 5:8-9) Yes, after His resurrection, Jesus ascended to the right hand of the throne of God where He is also interceding for us. (Cf. Romans 8:34)

I am reminded of an old hymn that I believe encourages us to look to Jesus for the hope and blessing of faith.  Written by Helen Lemmel, the chorus reads:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

So Now You Know…

Have a Blessed Day!

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6

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