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Joey Karrigan
Husband of a wonderful wife and MDiv student at Bethlehem College and Seminary.
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Endure by Looking to Him Who Endured On Our Behalf
Hebrews 12:1-2
Let us run the race of endurance by looking to the one who already endured the race for us.
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#endurance
Published March 17th, 2016
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Main point summary
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Diagram
Run the race!
Who is the reward to whom we look?
Exhortation: don't neglect looking to Jesus.
notes
Main point summary
The author of Hebrews exhorts his readers to run the race by looking to Jesus, laying aside sins, weights, and impediments which slow us down.
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Hebrews 12:1-2
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Τοιγαροῦν... διʼ ὑπομονῆς τρέχωμεν τὸν προκείμενον ἡμῖν ἀγῶνα
Therefore , ... through endurance let us run the having been-set -before-us race
ὄγκον ἀποθέμενοι πάντα καὶ τὴν εὐπερίστατον ἁμαρτίαν,
laying aside every impediment and easily-ensnaring sin,
... καὶ ἡμεῖς τοσοῦτον ἔχοντες περικείμενον ἡμῖν νέφος μαρτύρων,
... we also, having a cloud of witnesses so great surrounding us,
ἀφορῶντες εἰς τὸν τῆς πίστεως ἀρχηγὸν καὶ τελειωτὴν Ἰησοῦν,
[BY] looking to the pioneer (ESV "founder") and perfecter of our faith, namely Jesus,
ὃς ἀντὶ τῆς προκειμένης αὐτῷ χαρᾶς ὑπέμεινεν σταυρὸν
who for the having-been-set -before-him joy endured the cross,
αἰσχύνης καταφρονήσας
[BY] despising the shame,
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ἐν δεξιᾷ τε τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ θεοῦ κεκάθικεν.
and he sat at the right hand of the throne of God.
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Hebrews 12:1-2
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Run the race!
While the first 10 chapters of Hebrews heavily focus on the person and work of Jesus, Hebrews 11 is filled with examples of those who by faith endure trials and afflictions because "they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one" (Heb. 11:6). These two components, that is, the person and work of Jesus and examples of those who endure in faith by looking to Him, are the means by which the author of Hebrews exhorts his readers to "run the race." With this in mind, we'll take a look at three participles which describe how we are to run this race. The force of the text (Heb. 12:1-2) is driven by one verb: run. "Let us run the race set before us." But how? 1. Those who run do not run alone. Many have run this race before by "looking to the reward" and "endured as seeing him who is invisible" (11:26-27). Essentially, those who successfully complete the race do so because they were "looking forward" (11:10) to a better possession and a better city. These are but some of the cloud of witnesses we have surrounding us in this race. 2. Those who run do so in a certain manner: laying aside every weight (or anything which impedes or encumbers our pursuit of Christ) and easily-ensnaring sin. What is unique here is that the author of Hebrews does not mention that we lay aside only sins. Rather, we lay aside sins and anything else which gets in our way. How does one run the race in this way? 3. Those who run do so by a particular means: looking to Jesus! If this is the means by which we run, then we cannot successfully run the race unless we look to Jesus. Those who by faith run the race by looking to Jesus are enabled to lay aside every weight and easily-ensnaring sin, like Moses laid aside "the fleeting pleasures of sin" (11:25) and "the treasures of Egypt" (11:26) for the better reward. Who is this better reward?
Who is the reward to whom we look?
He is the supreme Son of God, superior to the angels ( ch. 1) . Jesus, through becoming human in every respect like His brothers, is the true Moses who rescues His people from the slavery of the fear of death under the Devil-pharaoh and leads them into the New Exodus through His blood ( ch. 2 ). Jesus is the faithful high priest over God's house, the church ( ch. 3 ). Jesus is the true Joshua who leads His people into the heavenly promised land of sabbath rest ( ch. 4 ). Jesus is the great high priest who is made the eternal source of salvation to all who obey him ( ch. 5 ). Jesus is the ground for God's sure promise to Abraham, for He has entered into the heavenly holy of holies on our behalf ( ch. 6 ). Jesus became high priest after the order of Melchizedek by the power of His indestructible life ( ch. 7 ). Jesus is the high priest of a better covenant enacted on better promises ( ch. 8 ). Jesus enters into heaven itself, the substance after which all other temples are copied (ch. 9). Jesus is the faithful high priest who offers up Himself as the single, superior sacrifice by which He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified (ch. 10). By faith, those who are being sanctified endure by looking to the reward (ch. 11). Therefore, being surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who endured by looking to the reward, we also must run the race by looking to Jesus (ch. 12). Those who run the race do so in the direction of Jesus, going to him outside the camp and bearing the reproach he endured (ch. 13).
Exhortation: don't neglect looking to Jesus.
Therefore, if looking to Jesus is the means by which we run the race, then looking to Jesus is the most important task of the Christian. So let us not let things crowd out our daily pursuit of Christ in the Scriptures. Running the race includes both positively seeking Christ in the Scriptures, but also putting things aside which get in the way of seeking Christ. Not only does that include sin, but also other impediments things which fight for your affections, whether that be Facebook, Netflix, or getting more sleep. But also be reminded in your unsuccessful attempts: we have not only a high priest made perfect through sufferings, but a high priest who has been tempted and is therefore able to sympathize with those who endure temptation.
Comments
Alex Gailey
Beautiful bro! I am encouraged by your love and labor in the Scriptures, especially Hebrews. Thanks buddy
Joey Karrigan
Praise God, bro!  Glad it was an encouragement to you.  I hope and pray your own studies are going well.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.