Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In chapter 11 God chose to record the names of several individuals who chose to accept the “faith that hath substance”. They were ordinary people. However, they became extraordinary people because they trusted in God.
Now in chapter 12, God is again contrasting those Godly people with the Lord Jesus Christ. In verse 1 we are challenged to look at those witnesses from chapter 11 and “lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us”. We are surrounded by sin. The temptation to sin is very real. However, those who are saved do not need to sin. Those who are saved can say “no” to sin. We can run with patience just as those people mentioned in chapter 11. We should not expect things to happen according to our timetable. We simply need to follow God faithfully and trust Him to be glorified. He is at work. He is longsuffering. He is giving lost people the opportunity to be saved. He is giving saved people the opportunity to become more faithful.
The challenge in verse 1 is to those who are saved. The ungodly cannot lay aside any weight. They are bogged down with sin. They may choose to forsake a particular sin, but there are others that will take the place of that one very quickly. They get stressed out and they get bogged down and they look for relief from drugs and alcohol and worldly music and ungodly counsellors, to name a few.
Those that are saved have the power to change and follow Christ more faithfully.
In verse 2 we see that our example is Jesus Christ, not man. Every man will disappoint at some point. We need to have godly pastors. We need the fellowship of fellow saints. Most importantly, we need to follow after Jesus Christ. He is the Author of our faith.
That “faith that hath substance” comes from Jesus Christ. Jesus encouraged His disciples to follow Him. It was not how much faith they had. It was where they placed their faith that mattered. In John 21:3 we read that Peter and the other disciples went out fishing and they did not catch a single fish all night. Jesus came on shore the next morning and asked them if they had any meat. They said “no,” and He told them to cast the net on the other side, and having done that, they had such a draught of fish, they could not get the net into the boat.
Peter and the others were discouraged because they lost sight of the Words of Jesus. He reminded them of Who He was and when Peter realized Who He was, he left the boat and the fish and jumped into the water and came to Jesus with haste. Peter got sidetracked, but Jesus called him back. Peter was happy to get back where he needed to be. Jesus then challenged Peter regarding his love for Jesus. Peter became frustrated with Jesus because He asked him three times about his love for Jesus. Jesus knew what He was doing. Peter needed to slow down and think about his answers. He needed to understand what true love looked like. For any true child of God, true love for God means He comes first. Maybe He wants you to be a fisherman. However, if you sacrifice His rightful place in your life you are missing the mark. Don’t think you need to sacrifice faithfulness to Christ in order to succeed in what you are doing. Draw nigh to Christ and let Him bless you. The disciples spent all night and caught nothing. They listened to Jesus and in a few moments they had a record number of fish in their net. In spite of that large catch, Peter gladly left that behind to be with Jesus.
Jesus Christ is the Author of true faith and He is also the Finisher of true faith. False religion teaches faith plus works might save. Jesus says: faith in Him alone is what saves. There is nothing that any human being can do to enhance Jesus’ gift of salvation and eternal life.
Jesus Christ endured the cross because He saw something bigger and better than the cross. He saw the souls that would be saved by His suffering and dying on the cross. His shed blood was the only hope for man. He willingly went to that cross knowing that those mentioned in chapter 11 plus others were trusting in His sacrifice for them. He went to the cross knowing that New Testament people would be turning to God in repentance and trusting in Him for salvation. He is the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. He wants to see His fold filled up.
Jesus was willing to go to the cross and to be spat upon prior to that event. He was willing to be beaten and whipped more than any human being ever had been. He was willing to be mocked. He knew His sacrifice would bring great blessing to many. He finished His work and He is seated on the right hand of His Father in heaven now. He is interceding for those who call unto God for salvation. Once saved He provides help for the Christian walk. He is the hope of mankind. If you do not know Him, there is no better time than right now to turn to God in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. God’s salvation will make a difference in your life. Not just for the moment but for eternity.
Remember to look to Jesus Christ for the truth. Trust only those who are pointing you to the Jesus of the Bible. There are many false christs, but there is only one true Christ. Trust in the true Jesus and know His blessing today.