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.
William Faulkner once wrote, “The salvation of the world is in man’s suffering.” Well, he was almost right. It is found in one man’s suffering.
The cross of Jesus is the pivot point of salvation. And as it comes into view, he does not shrink back or change his course. He sets his face toward the cross and walks with resolve to his death and your life.
This passage is an invitation to embrace the suffering of Jesus and walk the long road with him to the cross. It is a reminder of our frailty and lack of power to save ourselves. We are dust and ash without him. And the writer challenges us to reflect on the reality of our sin, the cost of our salvation, and our utter dependence on the grace of Jesus.
This dependence is binding, and yet at the same time, it is miraculous freedom. The writer describes in magnificent language the liberty that comes to us through the triumphant suffering of Christ. As the pioneer drags his cross down the way of sorrows, he carves a path of victory in which we now run, with chains and shame broken and scattered in our wake. As the saints surround us, we fix our eyes on him and persevere in his joy. Each step he stumbled toward death quickens our pace and invigorates our journey. His suffering is our salvation, and our surrender is our victory in the race laid out for us.
Pioneer and perfecter of our faith, carve the way for us. Give us strength to surrender, for even that ability comes from you. Keep my eyes fixed on you and my feet empowered run in your steps.
What is the sin that so easily entangles you? How is Jesus’ victory on the cross overcoming that in your life? What distracts you from keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus?
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