by Pastor Mark Jordan
“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.” (Hebrews 12:1-3, NRSV)
Today we finish our jog through Hebrews 12:1-3, showing us how life in like running in a race. So far we have explord how we need to run for Jesus, both as our inspiration and destination. We need to wear love, our all purpose garment that won’t hinder or encumber the run. We also need to run with perseverance, allowing God’s strength to be our endurance. As we run, we need to follow the example of Jesus, since he is both at the beginning of our race, and our finish line.
Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the pioneer and perfecter of the faith. Other translations describe Jesus as the author and perfecter of faith. However you read it, there is a powerful lesson to learn here about running like Jesus, and that is in folloing his example. Jesus didn’t just talk about running the race, he actually started and asks you to follow. He ran the race, even when it was hard, all the way to the cross out of love and obedience to God. In so doing, he brought scorn to the cross so it could become your hope. This is the exaple of Jesus, and he asks you to follow.
Jesus also gives us the model for how we are to live even when the running get hard. In Jesus, God experienced the gamut of the human condition. He got hungry. He got angry. He got lonely. He got tired. He knew how to halt in the face of his human difficulties, connect with God, and maintain perspective so he kept going God’s way…the way that leads to truth and eternal life.
Jesus is cheering you on to your finish line — his outstretched arms. Can you hear him calling your name and clapping his nail-scarred hands? He wants you to run for him, both in inspiration and desitinaion. Put on the garment of love, and persevere when the going gets tough. Keep running, and know that as you do, the Lord is right there with you, every step of the way.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for giving me the example to run. Help me to follow you, even and especially when it’s hard. I ask this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.