“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Heb. 12:3).
One central theme of the epistle to the Hebrews is the absolute superiority of Jesus to all who came before Him. This Jesus is worthy of much more glory than either the angels or Moses (1:1–3:6). He brings the final Sabbath rest to the people of God (3:7–4:13) and supersedes the Aaronic priesthood (4:14–7:28). He has inaugurated the new covenant by means of the perfect sacrifice of Himself (8:1–10:18). This Jesus is the promise; the old covenant saints waited for Him, and the new covenant saints have witnessed Him (10:19–11:40).
Because of this vast superiority, we must throw all hindering sins aside and persevere as we run the race of faith (12:1). We are only able to do this as we look to Jesus, the one who grants us faith and brings it to perfection. He is the object of our faith, the one in whom we trust, the one who is above all things. Only when we look to His glory can we persevere in our faith and inherit all the promises of God (v. 2).
Left to ourselves, we would stumble. Left to ourselves we would not persevere. But thanks be to God, He does not leave us to ourselves. He guarantees that all those who truly confess Christ will never fall away (John 10:27–29). Nevertheless, our Father does not guarantee our perseverance in a way that ignores our decisions. Rather, He stirs our souls as we read His Word, causing His elect to follow the many examples of persevering faith given to us in redemptive history, and He thereby preserves our souls (Heb. 10:39).
The supreme example of perseverance, as today’s verse tells us, is Jesus. If we look to Him and consider Him, the one who suffered for His faithfulness, we shall not grow weary (12:3). Jesus ran the race and did not give up even though He faced intense agony. His example then is sufficient for us to avoid sin and remain faithful until the end since we shall never ever suffer even a portion of what He had to endure. As John Calvin says, “For this one thought alone ought to be sufficient to conquer all temptations, that is, when we know that we are companions or associates of the Son of God, and that he, who was so far above us, willingly came down to our condition in order that he might animate us by his own example; yea it is thus that we gather courage, which would otherwise melt away, and turn as it were into despair.”
As you run for the prize of heaven have you ever found yourself weary? Perhaps you might even be weary now as you endure many problems and trials. Whether you feel weary now or strong, take some time to meditate on Jesus today. Let His faithfulness in the midst of adversity be your inspiration to continue running the race.
Passages for Further Study:
Ex. 13:17–22, Num. 21:4–9, John 3:14–15, 1 John 5:5