Healing for 2022.

Continuing the call of David in Psalm 103.1 to praise God’s holy name, I have been singing “Jesus name above all names”. I look up and see a beautiful light shining from the top of the mountains – the world around is dark – then I see myriads of lights of all colours of the rainbow, spread out through the dark.

“Look at those lights Ian, those are all the places I touched and led you and blessed you this past year. But it has always been – you have just not been so aware, there has never been a moment when I wasn’t near you. During that time that contact has always been for your benefit – to bless you – to grow you and prepare you to be part of My bride. Just relax now and let that knowledge flow over you as you prepare for the road ahead.”

Today, is a Friday like any other, yet it has considerable symbolic significance. I choose to look back in an attitude of grateful thanksgiving for the past year. There is so much to be hugely grateful for, as we close this chapter of our lives. Yet it will always be part of us, won’t it?

I have spent some time in Psalm 103 this week but want to just stop on vs 3 for today. It is an age-old question, much debated and probably misunderstood by many. So in the psalm David starts his list of benefits we have received from God, remembering the benefit which is probably of prime importance. Having our sins forgiven. To underline that, he returns to this theme again in vv 8-13. Plumer says that “all human blessedness …. must be based on the forgiveness of sin”.

Now the question is what is the link between the blessing of sins forgiven and healing of all diseases, as mentioned in this vs. There are, of course, those who would say that the healing is built into the promise of the covenant. A favourite verse is “we are healed by His stripes” Isaiah 53:5c.

Even though this blog is not the place for a complete discussion of the whole question of healing and forgiveness, I want to put forward a few thoughts on the subject for you to chew on, as the Lord turns the page into the New Year.

  1. Healing is built into our creation. The whole physiology of the body is focused on healing. At their best, doctors can simply buy into that and assist in some way. We must presume that in the Garden, where there was no death, this function worked perfectly in keeping man healthy.
  2. The curse, God’s reaction to sin, brought death and all forms of sickness into being.
  3. Some sicknesses, like STD’s in many cases are the direct result of sinful actions. You can lump a lot of things into that. Heart disease, diabetes, many forms of metal illness, trauma, the list is endless. Can forgiveness reverse those diseases? Well yes, but only in some cases. In most others, although one can receive forgiveness, one has to bear the consequences of the sinful behaviour.
  4. Every sinful action or thought can be classed as a sign of imperfection – “sickness, as it were.
  5. When we are born again, God starts a process of reversing the effects of sin. He doesn’t just forgive, He brings restoration. This may include physical healing, perhaps through a better functioning of our own physiology of healing. I often allow my imagination to play on the way God is working in my body, if I’m sick. I may pray like: “Please activate my immune system Lord. Let all those cells and antibodies swing into action etc” But the focus is probably much more on Spiritual healing and cleansing. The two are intimately intertwined and continue to be fostered by our relationship with our Father, who created us. These two aspects, as real as they are, are governed by the basic principle of the gospel expectation “now but not yet”. We have been given it all, yet much is still “in the bank” as it were. That means we are still not experiencing it completely in practice yet. We are all still going to die, some time or other.

In summary then. Sickness and even the way we respond to infections, is closely linked to our psyche, our thoughts and minds, our attitudes, sinful and spiritual and that again is still very much influenced by sin. So forgiveness of sins, releases an enormous potential for healing, then and in the future. That is why we need to continually remember the huge benefit of forgiveness, so that we can receive that benefit on all fronts, on an ongoing basis.

Praise in Perspective.

Singing a song of blessing for the Lord especially for His holiness.

“Oh Ian, it is hard for you or anyone to truly grasp and understand My holiness completely. One reason is that, although it is very, very real, it is also unseen. Only those who desire to see it can have some idea of it. It embodies everything about Me. My complete “otherness”, My total omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence. Totally other than anything or anyone in the world. Yet my expectation for you is that you be holy – “without holiness no-one will see the Lord” – but holiness is not something you can have by trying. Holiness only comes with complete surrender “I have been crucified and I live, yet not I, the life that I live in the body I live through Jesus Christ, the Lord”. Every decision you make leads you either to more holiness or away from it. Decisions coloured by worship and surrender to Me on the one hand or by your own desires or agenda on the other. It is as basic as that. Holiness in a growing measure is available all the time to you”.

So stimulated by a message from Mervyn Eloff yesterday, I am going to study Psalm 103 this week as we move up to the New Year.

Starting to day with the opening two vv and the last 3. These verses set the framework for the whole psalm and its main message. I am sure you can all see what it is. It is all about the importance and value of praising God. So just a few remarks concerning these few vv, for you to chew and meditate on:

David calls on his soul to be the source of his praise (v 1). Perhaps very basic, this tells us that true praise is not just what we do with our lips. Real praise comes from the heart, from our whole being, in fact, the Hebrew word for worship describes an attitude of kneeling submission.

The basic reason we should praise Him is expressed in His name.(v 1) Do you see it? His holy name represents who He is. It is because of His total “otherness” that we can and should praise Him. It is an inexhaustible source, since we can never plumb its depths completely.

Then in v 2 David tells us to “not forget His benefits”. What does that mean? How do we benefit from God? That represents everything about our lives that has value which flows from God and His grace. It represents everything that is good. May I suggest you meditate on that as we consider our attitude of praise to the Lord.

Finally, the last three vv describe David calling on the entire creation and everything and everyone, both seen and unseen in it, to encourage them to praise Him. Everything in his entire dominion. Ever thought of the earthworms in the ground that you walk on praising God?

Here’s another thought to finish. The attitude of praise keeps us walking with God and appreciating Him all the time. The opposite is to grumble. Oh-oh that subject? How many of you are looking back at this last year with an attitude of dissatisfaction and grumbling? So easy to join in the chorus of “ain’t it awful” ? Whether we are together with friends, even Christian friends or our pagan friends. You don’t have to be “holier than thou”, but your attitude towards life and its knocks is sometimes the best chance to be a witness you may have.

As you apply this to your whole attitude to life, this past year and your expectation of the coming year. Why don’t you read the rest of psalm 103 and we will chat about it again on Friday, good old New Year’s eve.


“Allow your mind to consider the creation again, as you experience the universal, quiet anticipation of the celebration of the beginning of the greatest intervention of all time on earth. There is a vast unseen cloud of witnesses of spiritual activity out there. And there is a hush as they all wait for to-morrow, which is actually a prediction of My coming again to wrap up the age – no-one knows when, but each one is ready in anticipation. So continue to prepare yourself for to-morrow. Don’t try and foresee – just prepare each day and the happenings in it are up to Me. I hold you close to My bosom – and nothing – nothing can happen to you that I have not foreseen and allowed. Remember I will never force you to do or your decisions you make, but will take all of them and work them together for your good.”

My reading today is Luke 2:1-20. I wrote last time about this passage. It is possibly one of the best known passages in the bible. Who hasn’t seen a number of nativity plays? The danger lies in just that. Because we know it so well it no longer holds the full wonder for us that it was meant to. I close my eyes and see the scene in Palestine 2000 years ago. A small group of shepherds sitting around a fire chatting, dressed in the basic home-spun clothes of the poorest. Behind them in the starlight their sheep, grazing away quietly (sheep feed mostly at night). Suddenly the glory of the Lord shines around them. Their reaction? They are terrified. The Greek could not emphasize this more strongly it reads “megas phobeo, phobos”.

Just think back of the dedication of the temple in Solomon’s time when God visited it with His glory.: 2 Chronicles 7:1,2……Fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifice, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house.”And then the announcement: The announcement of the beginning of the greatest history-changing event of all time. That’s not all. The show is not over yet. A great company of the heavenly host appears with the angel praising God. This was no nativity play with paper props, this was a glimpse into heaven itself. A huge supernatural display of God’s power and joy.

Luke is writing in the same style of his first chapter, using huge contrasts to highlight the event, like a master painter. Here is Mary, a pregnant, peasant lass, with her husband Joseph, a carpenter (betrothed yet not consummated). far away from home in the simplest of accommodations. Among animals in a stable. Giving birth to a baby and without a cot he is laid in a manger, with the animal food just scraped out. Outside in the field a group of the simplest folk gathered. No rich and influential people around, kings or religious leaders, just the most simple scene. And God reveals His glory (not nearly all of it but enough to make a huge show)

Who is this baby? The reader must ask? He is, vs 11 none other than the Christ (the Messiah, everyone in Israel was waiting for). But not the King riding in on His white steed but a small, vulnerable child. God, yes I said it God Himself, coming to identify with His creation completely. Wrapped up in that little body was the Saviour of the world. Luke wants us to be gobsmacked, just like the shepherds were. He wants us to absorb this truth so that it will change our hearts, our very lives.

Like the shepherds in vs 12 we must also go out and spread the word, so that everyone who hears it will be amazed vs 18. He is a unique King. A king described best by the term “now but not yet”. There will be a day when He will come in glory. Maybe sooner than we think. The question is: does this story strike such a familiar note that you – yawn, as you see all those little children, in your mind’s eye, bumbling through this year’s nativity play. Aren’t they so sweet? Or is it so mind-boggeling that you can’t wait to go and spread the word?

let’s stop and be honest with ourselves. Which news has dominated your thinking this year? Of which news are you the most concerned? I’m sure like me the whole Corona story is the one most prominent. Why don’t we decide that 2022 will be the year when we, with the Lord’s supernatural help, turn our thoughts and conversation to this coming and the possibility of His next coming and away from Corona and it’s sooty fingerprints on everything. God has created the environment, we need to make use of the opportunity!

(This devotion is a reprint of one from December last year, which I thought was specifically relevant again to day, while I finish my prep for tomorrow.)

May I wish all our readers and fellow-bloggers the greatest blessing tomorrow and He and the historical events around His birth be more real to you than ever before.

Experiencing Advent.

“The whole world is silent – the whole of creation is waiting in silent expectation. Expectation of the celebration of the onset of the most momentous period in history. That babe was tiny and helpless, completely dependent on His mother, both physically and emotionally. He needed her love and care to grow. Yet in Him was wrapped up the potential power of the whole universe – all creation, suns a hundred times the size of our sun exploding – down to the power released from splitting one atom, the smallest particle in all creation demonstrates this power. That was all wrapped up in embryo form in Him and would be released when the Spirit came on Him at His baptism. Savour the expectation of the weekend. Drink in the full import of it.”

Having finished Hebrews, my mind has swung to experiencing and understanding afresh, the full import of the events which we will celebrate on Saturday.

I started by reading Psalm 24. Just as my quiet time message, it starts by focusing on the fact that Yahweh is the Creator of the whole “world” and by that I take the whole universe. Then, after defining who will be able to benefit through a relationship with this Great Lord, it comes to a whole section on the coming of “the King”. “Lift up you heads, oh you gates, be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the king of glory, may come in” the Lord strong and mighty in battle”. This refrain is repeated for emphasis: “Who is this king of glory? The Lord Almighty – he is the king of glory”. (Jehovah, the Covenant God of Israel).

But now hold on now. Is this Jehovah not already with the people He has called? So why must they expect His coming? (v 7). So I turn to Isaiah 9:6 and I read of an expected child, in fact specifically a son, that is going to be born for the benefit of Israel, (but also of the whole world). He has a number of titles, but of special interest here is v 7b, linking the idea that the psalm has raised. “He will reign on David’s throne, over His kingdom”. So let me put this together. The expected king, described as Jehovah, the king of glory in psalm 24, is none other than the babe to be born in Bethlehem.

Wow! Just stop and think. That babe we are going to worship and sing about, is none other than God Himself, come to earth on a special mission. And then a special thought comes to mind. It is in His very lowliness and humility that His full power is released. So His power, His ability to work through me, lies in me being truly humble, in me becoming nothing.

You know all this don’t you? Yet in a miraculous way as I meditated on these two passages, it took on a strange, new and deeper significance. It was as if My pulse was beating faster in expectation. Saturday, is a day which is going to be like any other in the calendar, but God refers over and over to “That Day”, a special day. So in my mind I am swept up with the thought of Saturday being a “special day”. A day of remembrance. A day of great thanksgiving and a day of rejoicing.

Please join with me in prayer as I prepare to lead and preach a special outreach service on Saturday morning at 8 am. And read and meditate this week, on what we are going to celebrate on Saturday, asking God to give you a fresh sense of His reality. A sense of the immediate implication of all this to you personally.

What did Jesus say to you, through Hebrews?

I am rising up and up, floating into the light which is so bright that I cannot look at it.

Yes Ian, I am lifting you up through My Spirit – shedding all that holds you back. Stripping it off so that you can become lighter and lighter and can soar upwards as with wings of an eagle – I have cleansed you of all that holds you back – stripping off the burdens so that as you come into my presence now, you are holy – crystal clear like glass – cleansed by My power through Jesus’ death on the cross, cleansed by My Spirit working through My word and washing you completely clean. I am doing this for you, feel the lightness after all your burdens are shed – light as a feather. That is what I am doing for you right now.

As we wrap Hebrews up, a few last thoughts: Firstly, did you notice the two absolute exceptions in the letter?

Without holiness no one will see the Lord. Heb 12:14

Without faith it is impossible to please the Lord. Heb 11:6,

So what do you make of that? Ch 2:1 sets up the theme of Hebrews: “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away“. So what do you think? This is not only for those who, at various places in the letter are completely doomed, but for all of us. “We must all pay attention to what we have heard.” Does that sound like the purpose of my blog? Let’s LISTEN to Jesus. Listen in such a way that we are paying careful attention. The warning is for all of us. Not that we may apostasize totally, but that we may drift away, losing our passion, becoming spiritually lazy or discouraged through suffering. Changing the priorities of our lives and thoughts and hearts. An important warning, as we reach the end of a grueling year, not to let our guard drop.

So how does Hebrews help us? Firstly his focus is primarily on Jesus. Who He is and what He has come to do. From the opening verse to the end, the ultimate answer does not rest in a lot of doctrine, but in a Person. All along in the earlier chapters, the writer focusses on believing, not letting sin harden our hearts. We must combine what we hear with faith cf 4:2. How will we know if we are doing that? It will show in our perseverance in the faith, despite difficulties and apparent purposeless delays. (ch 11). During all this time the alternative to drifting away, is fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives, ie to become holy. Growing in holiness is a sure sign of the believer who is exercising faith an a continual basis. Not a namby-pamby idea of holiness, but the real thing. Becoming more like Jesus in every way. There is actually no short cut. We only grow in holiness as we spend time with Jesus, learning to believe in Him and to trust His word. Listening to him and then applying His “gospel principles” in our lives, as I explained last time. “That way we will see God and please Him”.

let me end this with the blessing from the end of Hebrews for all of our readers: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen”. Heb 13:20,21 Yes, Amen.

Remember to live the Gospel

I have been experiencing a supreme sense of the immediacy of Jesus and His coming as Christmas approaches. The King is coming, the King is coming indeed!

“I am the Souvereign of the universe and have all the power and creativity which has brought it into being and is now sustaining you. At the moment I am focusing it here in this room on you. Every bit of that is here and available through My Spirit to you. And, mark, just as it is available to you, it is available to every true child of mine who listens to Me. What you need is just to be aware of the height, length, breadth and depth of this power which is demonstrated in My love. Every moment on this earth is precious and it is precious because of your relationship with Me and My transforming power. That is THE GOSPEL, live it this week with all your thankfulness in full expectation of My appearing soon, my appearing again has always been imminent”.

As we come now to the last chapter of Hebrews, the melody line has drawn the message of the letter to a conclusion and now we are faced with various exhortations on the practical application of the whole of it. Most of the instructions in this section are pretty straightforward, but the teaching is very dense. This means that if we are to draw the greatest benefit from this passage we need to stop with each instruction, meditate on it and ask Jesus to show us, personally how it should play out in our lives.

Up to vs 15, I count 5 distinct instructions, although some are linked. Each one is a challenge. Take vs 5 for instance. Keep your lives free from the love of money. Learn to be content with what you have. Maybe at our age this is not such a great challenge, but the world out there and within the church as well, is driven by a sense of discontent. Whether major desires that are not being met or just with the behaviour of the person who lives next door.

Now here is the important message I have for all of us today. If this was just a list of instructions, which many people treat it as, then trying to obey and fulfil them would only lead to more frustration and discontent and often a sense of failure. But we live by the gospel of Jesus. Now look at how He is woven into all these instructions.

We should be content, because we are depending on Jesus, who will never leave you or forsake you and is your helper.(VV5,6.) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and to morrow (V 8.) Through Him we are to offer the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, (V 15). May the Lord Jesus work in us what is pleasing to Him (V 21).

So living according to the gospel involves developing and fostering our relationship with Jesus first, then doing the actions we feel He is leading us to do, through His word or the prompting of the Spirit or even by a suggestion from a brother or sister. As we focus on Jesus, He has promised over and over, no matter how difficult the instruction or situation is, His power will always be sufficient, His grace will always be sufficient to carry us through.

Now here is a word of warning or maybe encouragement. Each one of us is going to fail multiple times in this walk. The temptation is to feel ‘convicted’, ‘downhearted’, ‘discouraged’, asking ourselves sometimes, is it really worth i? There I have gone and done it again, and then we tend to make up our minds to just to keep trying harder and harder. That is where we must understand how this gospel life works. In 1 John he writes “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, but if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”

So here is the gospel way: Keep your relationship fresh with the Lord. Walk as much as you can determine by the Spirit, trusting in His empowering love and grace to follow Him. When you fail in any way, turn immediately to Jesus and confess your sin and He will give you another start, as often as you need it. Focus on Him, not on the works and your failures and His power will work through you and gospel joy and the feeling of freedom will follow.

On Friday I will throw out a few questions on Hebrews to help us gather our thoughts together on this fascinating letter

Ultimate Perfection at Mt Zion.

Singing “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain”.

“Yes Ian the whole of creation will focus on My throne, ten thousand times 10 000 and many more, will bow down and sing and declare My worth. Now your worth does not depend on who you are and what you are doing or have done – it depends on and derives purely from My grace. Having chosen you before time you are where you are because of my grace and love which I have lavished on you. Your worth is dependent on that and not on your performance or willingness to obey – you are my workmanship my “poiema”, my lyric who carries my song out to the world. That defines your worth, made in My image to glorify Me in whatever way you feel I am leading you. I will make those paths straight for you till you eventually join the heavenly throng in worship”.

Looking today at the last part of Heb 12 from 14 – 29. The writer is busy wrapping up his ‘melody line’. Firstly with a reminder in vv 14 – 17 again of our responsibility towards each other in preventing some from drifting away. The ‘bitter root’ which people often interpret as a hidden sin in an individual is more focused here on that dissension which so easily happens in the church community and results in it no longer being effective in standing together against sin.

Then he produces this magnificent visual of the two mountains. Of course he is wanting to remind those Jewish believers that wanted to return to the Old Testament way of worship of the inadequacies of that covenant in comparison to the New Covenant represented by Mt Zion. Notice again how he emphasizes the theme and importance of salvation with the use of the concept of “men made perfect” being the ones who will be in the heavenly choir. That, in fact, is the message of the New Covenant.

While love should be the main motivator for us to follow and obey Jesus, notice how the writer again takes out the big stick in this closing section with several warnings and frightening pictures of what will result if one “falls into the hands of the living God” , the “God who is a consuming fire”. The clear message from all these exhortations is that we are invited to “be thankful and worship God acceptably with reverence and awe”.

So with this he brings his message to a close except for a few closing exhortations in the last chapter. The ultimate prize of being there with Jesus on the heavenly mt Zion, made perfect, in a perfect relationship with him and the Father through Him, compared to the inadequacies of the Old Covenant, faced with and separated from a fearsome, wrathful God and no mediator, shows clearly that it is not worth turning back to the Jewish rituals which this represents, because of the tremendous prize you would forfeit.

The word that I received from God before I read this passage was so similar to this message of scripture that I was again filled with the sense of the reality of His communication through His Word and His Spirit and the effect of that on me was undoubtedly a renewed desire to worship Him with reverence and awe..

Suffering – an Important Perspective.

“Loyalty – that is what I am seeking – that is the same as faithfulness. The O T Israelites – said one thing – they promised love and obedience – yet their lives – the way they lived showed their hearts were not in what they had said. That is why I made a New Covenant, where your heart is changed by My Spirit when you start your new life in Jesus. Now I woo you with all My love – yet I can’t make you love me more in return – but My desire is that you continuously place your heart on the line because you want to and so love Me to the exclusion of everything else. All your heart, all your body, all your mind and all your soul – but yes when you do that there is plenty of My love spilling out for those around you – so let My love flow freely to everyone you have to do with”.

Now then we come to Heb 12:4 ff and we see the writer is not denying the suffering that the readers had experienced (see 10:32-34), what he is doing is to suggest that the readers get a new perspective on this suffering.

Firstly he says that they should “consider Jesus” and how much He suffered. What he says about resisting to the point of shedding blood is simply that the readers should draw a comparison of their suffering to Jesus’s, who went the whole way to His death. They should measure their suffering against that, to put it in perspective.

Then secondly he introduces a new thought, that there is actually a purpose in the suffering God is using suffering to change them beneficially. (Similar to what Lilly has said about Romans 8:28 ff). He speaks of suffering as discipline, which God is using precisely because they are His sons (family) and therefore, out of love wants them to “live”, and “share in His holiness” (vs 9) and ultimately the real value they will experience will be that they will “reap a harvest of righteousness and peace” (vs 11). He is therefore suggesting that rather than turn back because of the suffering and accede to those who wanted them to drop Christianity and go back to Judaism, they should see what was happening as a sort of spiritual boot-camp, which God is using to equip them for the race to eternity they are engaged in.

Now of course the word “suffering” immediately conjures up all sorts of scenarios and debates, so one must be careful not to sweep all those into the league of a spiritual boot-camp. However the vv in Romans 8:28 ff really imply the same. A book, I read recently by Joni Earicksen-Tada, where she shared how she was facing suffering, not only from her quadriplegia, but also intolerable back pain for which there seemed to be no relief. I don’t want to oversimplify what she said, but she had a whole chapter on how she has been able to get a new perspective on the pain and one of the chief ways was her continual belief that what was happening to her was all part of God’s loving intervention in preparing her for glory.

I think that what God was saying to me from this passage and the whole of Hebrews, so far is: “be careful not to be stuck in a rut about how you see and react to various events in your life.” Maybe I really needed to be reminded again about the need for myself to get the perspective the writer was trying to get his readers to understand. The perspective to see things from God’s point of view not from my very earthly viewpoint. And of course covering over everything we experience here in this race is a layer of colour – the colour of God’s love through which we must learn to see all things.

Let us Fix our Eyes on Jesus.

I am filled with excitement today – a sense of expectation – as the clouds of Covid roll in again. I have asked the question “Lord what do you have in mind for us now?” This whole pandemic has turned the world upside down – you didn’t use a globally visible, display of cosmic power, but the smallest possible bug to demonstrate your universal power. If you use something so small, what would happen if you released the full power of your love and judgement?

“But Ian I have already released the full power of My love – it happened on that day in Israel when the clock stopped and darkness set in and the earth was shaken. My invisible power was released in a new and fresh way that day. Now you and many Christians long for revival – have you considered that the pandemic is just that. It is a huge and potent message to the world showing it how powerless it actually is. Governments, science, people movements are shaking, because they can’t control it. So have you considered how many people are reaching the conclusion that they have no control over their destiny and casting themselves on Me and My love. The fields are white unto harvest. Stop looking at the pandemic and start looking at the opportunities that I am opening up everywhere for My gospel – spread the message and be encouraged for your outreach on Christmas day”.

Now what is the Lord continuing to say to us in Hebrews? Heb 12:1 – “Therefore” takes what the writer has been saying and shows he wants to apply it practically to the readers in a way that they can actually apply it to themselves and alter their behaviour. He starts by referring to the immediate preceding section about faith and perseverance. But in vs 2 he actually goes back to Ch 3:1 where he instructed the readers to “consider” Jesus. Focus your attention fully on Him in the light of this problem of drifting away (2:1). Now he wraps the whole teaching from there with the bracket in vs 2 where he says “let us fix our eyes on Jesus”, and in v 3 “consider Him”. Same thing. The basic instruction on how to persevere lies in keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith.

So in these few vv we see Him firstly as the final and perfect witness, among the great cloud of witnesses. The one who was able to throw off any sin so that he wasn’t dragged back in the race of life. The one who demonstrated His perseverance by being prepared, not only to suffer the pain of the cross but the scorn and shame, which ultimately led to Him taking the sin of the world on to Himself.

Now look at vs 3b and stop and think. Yes I believe we all have times when we become weary in this difficult world and feel like losing heart. That is why it is such an encouragement to know that when we fix our eyes on Jesus, He is not aloof to these difficulties, because He has personally experienced them cf Heb 2:18.

Yet understanding them and being an example is only the first step to our being able to finish the race, which is the picture which the writer is using to encourage the readers. He is also the Enabler, through His high priestly role which resulted in the giving of the Holy Spirit to help us compete in this race. cf 8:10, 10:16.

Lets stop there and digest it so that we can effectively link up to what follows.

We are all unique yet we have much in common. We are all engaged in this race in our own unique roll. Yet we will all have times when we get tired and feel like giving up , but just as with athletes that will manifest in different ways for each of us.

So these verses act as a sort of springboard for the last part of the letter. And the message to me personally? Exactly what it says there in that passage.