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Jesus, The Author and Perfecter of Faith
Hebrews 12:1-3 A beautifully-written epistle that reminds us that there is joy to be found in faith even in the worst of times
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 NASB1995
The Epistle to the Hebrews has traditionally been attributed to the Apostle Paul, although some Biblical scholars think that it was written anonymously by Priscilla. She was the wife of Aquila, and they were a Christian missionary couple highly thought of by Paul and mentioned six times in four separate books of the New Testament.
Priscilla and Aquila provided a much-needed stabilizing presence in the early church that kept it growing and focused on Jesus. Priscilla is considered to be the first female Christian preacher, and the couple was lauded by Paul for “correcting” Apollos, an Apostle who only knew of the baptism of John the Baptist — not the baptism taught by Jesus.
Regardless of who was the actual author of Hebrews, it is one of the more artistic and literary of all of the books of the New Testament. Today’s verses start Chapter 12, often titled as “The Race of Faith” for its imagery exhorting the reader to “run with endurance the race that is set before us”.
How do we finish that race? Only by “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” To me, this brings memories of the days when I would run 5K races, often surprising myself with faster times than I thought I could ever achieve. The trick? Fixing my eyes on a runner who was obviously well beyond my capabilities and trying my best to emulate that person. For the Christian, this verse shows us how we can excel in our endurance race by fixing our eyes on Jesus as our example of how to live our lives and treat others.
There’s another line in the beginning of Hebrews 12 that seems to be an oxymoron — “Jesus … who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.” Jesus did not think of His crucifixion experience as a joy, but He could endure the ordeal knowing that infinite good would result from it. His sacrifice would produce generation upon generation of redeemed and rescued people who would honor God eternally. That was the source of Jesus’ joy, and by understanding His faith and love, Christians have the perfect example to follow to see them through the worst life can offer.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Father in Heaven, I thank You that Jesus endured the suffering on the Cross for my sake. In His infinite mercy, He counted that agony as joy because He knew that it would save billions of souls, including mine. Thank You that His work is finished and salvation is available to all who trust by faith in Christ. In His name I pray, AMEN.