Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
The writer of Hebrews lists some of the “heavy hitters” of the Faith Hall of Fame. His purpose is to encourage his fellow believers in the midst of troubling times. Life was not easy for them and many were becoming discouraged over their situation. Some of them were growing weary and fearful due to persecution from the Romans as well As from the Jews. Many of them had come to faith in Christ from Judaism. These were being tempted to go back to following the Mosaic Law With the hope that things would get better. The message of the passage is that they ought to persevere in their faith as did the Old Testament saints. Their faith would help them hold out and endure unto eternal life.
Today we Christians must take heart as the saints of old did. We are in the midst of troubling times and irritating people all of which exasperate and anger many of us to the point that we abandon the ways of the Lord and His Kingdom. We react to our evil circumstances and venomous persecutors as those in the world do. We seek revenge by resorting to outbursts of malice, hatred, unforgiveness and condemnation. The writer of Hebrews teaches that we must endure in the midst of our persecution as Jesus did. Jesus embraced the hatred, suffering and shame of the cross because He knew He was blameless. He knew He was in the Father’s will. He knew the outcome and His reward. We too who are in Christ are blameless. Therefore although our circumstances seem dark and chaotic, we are in the Father’s will and will receive our reward in the heavenly Kingdom if we follow Jesus in humble faith.