Devo – Hebrews 12:1-2

Hebrews 12:1-2 Devotion

[Heb 12:1-2 HCSB] 1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

Outline

  1. Prayer

  2. Read verses

  3. Intro:

    1. I first thought about doing a devotion on Hebrews 12:1-2 when I heard “Holiness Is a Race, Not a Prohibition” on episode 650 of Ask Pastor John

    2. I will not play it for you as I am not able to follow up with the clarity or the passion with which he speaks

    3. http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/holiness-is-a-race-not-a-prohibition

  4. Historical Context of Hebrews:

    1. Author of Hebrews is unknown, possible authors are Paul, Apollos, Peter, Barnabas and Luke.

      1. Traditionally Paul is accredited with authorship

      2. Greene believes that Paul wrote Hebrews, and even titled his commentary “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews”

      3. While MacArthur sides with Origen Adamantius quoting “No one knows”

        1. An early Christian theologian, lived ~184 – ~254, not Origen the Pagan who lived around the same time

      4. Hebrews is different then most of the New Testament as it is not a letter but more of an essay form, possibly a sermon.

    2. Written around 64-68 AD during the persecution of Christians by Nero, as there is no mention of the temple in Jerusalem being destroyed which happened in in 70 AD

    3. It is written to Hebrew Christians with the theme of “The Preeminence of Jesus Christ” and endurance in their faith, that they would not abandon their faith and go back to Judaism

    4. MacArthur breaks down the audience of Hebrews even further into three parts

      1. The believing Hebrew Christian

      2. The Hebrew non-Christian that were “intellectually convinced but not committed”

        1. Cognitive but not trans-formative knowledge of Christ

        2. That Christ was not on the thrown, not the Lord of their life

      3. The Hebrew non-Christian who was not convinced

  5. Read verses and break down

  6. “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us”

    1. Here there is a transitions from the past heroes of faith to us/audience

    2. The cloud of witnesses is used to refer back to the heroes of faith

      1. Able, Enock, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. (Heb. 11:1-32)

      2. The author says he could list more, if he had time

    3. Also fits well with the analogy of running a race, the idea of the Colosseum full of people, a massive cloud of people

    4. It is not to say that these heroes of the faith are looking down on us spectating, but their lives bear witness to us of their faith in God. Which is to be an example to us that we should not abandon our own faith in Jesus.

  7. “ let us lay aside every weight” – HCSB

    1. “let us also lay aside every encumbrance” – NASB

    2. The Greek word “ogkos” (Strong’s G3591)

      1. Strong’s Definition: a mass (as bending or bulging by its load), i.e. burden (hindrance)

      2. Outline of Biblical Usage: I. whatever is prominent, protuberance, bulk, mass

      3. This only used here in Hebrews 12:1, but in other secular Greek literature is has been used in conjunction with vices

    3. Runners would would strip down to the minimum not allowing for any extra weight or heavy clothes to slow them down

    4. Example of training weight vest, ankle weights and parachute

    5. Nothing is specifically given as an example of what weight the author is talking about

    6. Though as Christians running our race we are to lay aside anything that weighs us down, that is takes greater prominence then Jesus in our life.

    7. To quote Greene “We should not ask, ‘Is it a sin for me to do this thing? Is it harmful for me to go to this place?’ Rather, we should ask ‘Will this glorify God? Will it magnify the name of Jesus? Will it make me a better Christian or cause someone else to want to become a Christian?’”

    8. We should ask these questions of our actions, hobbies and habits. Knowing we have freedom in Christ, but also knowing that we might become a stumbling block to others and in so doing committing sin (1 Corinthians 8:9-12)

  8. “and the sin that so easily ensnares us” – HCSB

    1. “and the sin which so easily entangles us” – NASB

    2. Our sin does more than slow us down, it can stop us from running the race

      1. We may not be out of the race, but sin can impede us to the point where we are not making any progress

    3. Give experience of running into old rusted barb wire while hunting Jack Rabbits and Quail

    4. Sin, is so troublesome to our walk, our race, our faith that it doesn’t just slow us down, or make us stop, but it is damaging to us and our testimony to others

    5. It is very important that we confess our sins, that we do not sin so grace may abound but seek forgiveness from God knowing that he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us. (1 John 1:9, Romans 6:1)

  9. “Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,” – HCSB

    1. KJV uses “patience,” NIV uses “perseverance”

      1. I like the use of endurance as it fits with the example of running a long race.

    2. Strong’s G5281 – cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy

    3. Outline of Biblical Usage: I. A. in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

    4. The Greek word for race is “agon” (G73), from which we get the word agony.

    5. In this race, it is not a sprint, we are to be in it for the long haul. That we are to run with endurance, and persevere in any trials that we may face

  10. “keeping our eyes on Jesus,” – HCSB

    1. “fixing our eyes on Jesus,” – NASB

    2. “Looking unto Jesus” – KJV, “looking to Jesus,” – ESV

    3. The Greek word used here is “aphorao” (G872)

      1. Outline of Biblical Usage: to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something

      2. That we should remove our eyes from what ever is distracting us and look to Jesus

      3. It is not that we should glance at Jesus, only sometimes look His way, but pointedly fix our eyes to Jesus

    4. One of the first things taught when learning to run in a race is to look forward

      1. Looking around at other racers, your feet, getting distracted will slow you down

      2. Same applies to this race. We must focus on Jesus, to run to Him as fast as we can

        1. Not looking at others, comparing our race with theirs

        2. Not looking at our own feet, focusing on our own actions and not the work of Jesus in us

        3. Not looking at the sidelines, the distractions of this world

        4. But looking unto Jesus because He is the “author and perfecter of our faith”

  11. “the source and perfecter of our faith” – HCSB

    1. “author and perfecter of faith,” – NASB

    2. “the founder and perfecter of our faith,” – ESV

    3. Jesus is the start of our faith and the end of our faith

    4. He is also an example of faith for us

      1. He set aside His glory, became flesh for us to be our eternal sacrifice

      2. Doing the will of the Father and not His own, even to the point of sweating blood because of the stress of what He would go through

    5. Christ’s example of faith is even better example to us then the heroes of faith mentioned in chapter 11

      1. Because He has authored and perfected our faith we can look to Him as he as already completed the race

      2. He becomes our focus and strength as we could not even start this race without Him

  12. “who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” – HCSB

    1. “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.” – KJV

    2. Christ endured through the agony of the cross by looked forward to the joy that would happen after

    3. Christ experienced the pain and shame that was owed to us

    4. Taking on our sin, paying the penalty for our transgressions

    5. Becoming our eternal sacrifice so that we might be saved and join him in heaven

    6. Knowing that He would conquer death, be glorified being set at the right hand of the throne of God, where He intercedes on our behalf, and that we through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice would join Him there also.

Conclusion

[Heb 12:1-2 HCSB] 1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.

We as Christians have a great examples of people that are faithful to God, the heroes of faith listed in chapter 11. Because of this we can find encouragement in their lives to help us in our own race of faith. So let us remove any distraction, any weight, that can slow us down, that will hinder our race. We have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:23), we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) and we should run this race to the glory of God.

We are to run this race with endurance and perseverance, considering it joy when we run into trials because they produce endurance (James 1:2,3). Looking away from everything else fixing our eyes on Jesus, who is our strength and shelter (Psalm 46:1), the author and perfecter of our faith. For we know He began a good work in us and He will perfect it (Philippians 1:6).

Jesus also being an example Himself as He endured the shame of the cross for our sake. That we might have eternal life through faith in Jesus, who glorified God on earth and was faithful to accomplish the work on the cross, conquering death and returning to His glory (John 17:3-5) being seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Pray!!!

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