“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 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.
(Therefore) Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Heb 12:1-3
There are 21 places in Hebrews where the word “therefore” appears. Remarkable. And that doesn’t include the one I snuck in above. Like I have heard before, when I see the word “therefore” I need to pay attention to what it is “there for?”
If I was looking at a math equation, the word therefore would kind of be like an “equal” symbol. “This and that equals the other.” In word logic it is similar: “there is this point and there is another point, and perhaps a third point. Taking these three points into consideration there is a logical conclusion that appears.”
The Writer of Hebrews is doing just that throughout this Letter; building to a logical conclusion using all the points of their knowledge, learnings, traditions, studies, and experience to show a conclusion that perhaps they haven’t considered before: That Jesus is the Promised Messiah and Lamb of God and this new knowledge demands a response.
It is the same for me: this knowledge demands a response. Not just once, but every day, every breath.
So, how do I respond? Verse 1 says: Lay aside every sin and whatever I can get wrapped up in (an encumbrance) and run the Race. What race? Ah, good question.
Jesus said to us there are two kinds of roads we are on: a wide road (or path) and a narrow one. The wide road is easier and unfortunately leads to destruction. The narrow one leads to righteousness, but this road isn’t exactly smooth sailing. Running the narrow road successfully requires a special something: endurance. We are not called to run a sprint, we are called to run a marathon.
There is one thing a marathoner must have before he starts training: he has to have a vision; a desire; a fierce determination. Taking a phrase from those musicals philosophers Survivor: we must have that “eye of the Tiger.”
This section of Scripture tells us that we have a reputation to live up to; that we have a cheering section; that we have examples in our history that we should seriously consider. The pronoun “We” is pretty inclusive, we are a part of a local church so that we have a support system ready-made when we start training.
Always though, all that we do is for the Audience of One.
Father, make these words convict me deep in my soul; don’t let them be empty and fall thudding to the ground in my life. AMEN.