Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV
I love the picture painted by this passage. My life is pictured as an event in an athletic contest, specifically a long race. The stands are filled with the saints of Hebrews 11. And many others including my parents, grandparents, and others who have already completed the race have joined them. They are watching me run the race and cheering me on.
The Cheering Crowd
As a long-distance runner, I know the impact of the cheering crowds. The crowds that encourage you to continue, even when you feel like giving up. It is even better when those cheering and encouraging have already run the race themselves. They know what you are going through. Consider the crowd of saints who have finished their race, and are now cheering you on. Be encouraged by that when the course seems long, the wind is blowing and the rain is falling. Don’t give up.
At the finish line, I can see Jesus, whose race was so much more challenging than mine. He never gave up, grew discouraged, or became distracted. Instead, he continued to the end, finishing his race, and is now enjoying the victor’s spoils. He didn’t give up, grow weary, or become distracted. That fills me with encouragement that the race is doable. And that the reward for crossing the finish line makes the race itself worthwhile.
And sometimes, you might see Jesus, not at the finish line, but running alongside you. It always inspires me when I see a stronger runner come back to help out and encourage a struggling friend. I have seen a number who have sacrificed their own race to stay with the friend. And many others who have finished and then work the way back through those still running until they find their friend. And then finish a second time, this time helping their friend. It is comforting to know that I have Jesus alongside when I need him most.
Hang in there, run your race to the end. Take your seat with the other finishers. And begin to cheer on the current runners. Or consider running alongside a struggling friend, help them to cross the finish line. And, when your race is finished, take your place in the stands with that great cloud of witnesses.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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7 thoughts on “A Great Cloud of Witnesses – Hebrews 12:1-3”
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I never thought before about the runners who finish then consider it a goal to remain and cheer others to the finish. What an apt analogy.
Because I have only been aware, before, of those who finish then rest, I will be more alert to look for those who have run the race and now encourage. Of whom you must be one!
Yeah, if I know someone who is behind me ( which doesn’t happen since I am not fast), I will look for them and cheer them on. As well as cheering on the stragglers as I head out after finishing. I know what it means to one who is struggling at the end of the race, because I have been there.
Found this tab still open as I started searching for other open tabs I have for your posts.
I blew up a knee skiing years ago. I have a Divine healing experience related to it but, even so, with the weight I’ve gained back in the last ten years, won’t be doing much running.
Lol…as short a time as I have been studying to show myself approved, there are plenty of people further behind than I am, so it’s not hard to find people to encourage in the Lord…even when they’re sure that’s not the encouragement they think they need. I give them my faith until they have their own.
It is hard to pick up running at our age. Every time I go our I have to wonder how much longer I can keep it up.
There are indeed plenty of people whose growth stalled out early in their Christian life. And that is so sad. They are missing out on so much.