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.