Summary: Outline of Heb 12
I’d Rather Have Jesus
Hebrews Chapter Twelve
Scripture Reading; Heb 12:1-2
1. In Chapter Eleven, Paul showed us through the Old Testament saints, that faithfulness justifies us.
2. Now in Chapter Twelve, he begins by reminding us of these saints and shows us how Christ’ faithfulness is so much better than anyone else.
3. The Author of Hebrews in now going to give us a reason for continued faith in Jesus the Christ.
I. Christian Compeller (1-4)
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it’s been found difficult and not tried.
G.K. Chesterton, quoted in Swindoll, Hand Me Another Brick, Thomas Nelson, 1978, p. 128.
i. Christian Race (1)
Hebrews 12:1 KJV
(1) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
1. “cloud of witnesses”
a. This cloud of witnesses is the Old Testament saint mentioned in chapter eleven.
b. Their testimony showed that God was pleased by them.
c. They pleased God by their faith in him
2. “sin which doth so easily beset us”
a. The sin that is being addressed in this passage is the sin of unbelief in God’s son.
b. This sin easily entangles us (NASV), and so demonstrates the idea of one being crippled in his unbelief because he can no longer run the race.
c. “The word translated “encumbrance” is ogkon which originally meant “crooked” or “hooked,” and then came to mean something attached or suspended by a hook, hence “weight” (KJV). Some have supposed the athletic metaphor is to training when excess weight is gotten off. Others urge that it is n9ot training but the race itself, and that the figure behind the language is the taking off of the excess clothes (actually, Greek runners ran naked) that might slow the runner causing him to be defeated.” Reese. New Testament Epistles, Hebrews. p.216.
3. “run… the race”
a. The sin of unbelief is the Christians greatest obstacle on the race track.
b. Our life as a Christian is compared to that of an athlete who battles the constant threat of unbelief.
c. The runner must not allow himself to become distracted.
ii. Christian Example (2)
For many years Monterey, a California coast town, was a pelican’s paradise. As the fishermen cleaned their fish, they flung the offal to the pelicans. The birds grew fat, lazy, and contented. Eventually, however the offal was utilized, and there were no longer snacks for the pelicans. When the change came the pelicans made no effort to fish for themselves. They waited around and grew gaunt and thin. Many starved to death. They had forgotten how to fish for themselves. The problem was solved by importing new pelicans from the south, birds accustomed to foraging for themselves. They were placed among their starving cousins, and the newcomers immediately started catching fish. Before long, the hungry pelicans followed suit, and the famine was ended.
Bits & Pieces, June 23, 1994, p. 17.
Hebrews 12:2 KJV
(2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
1. “looking unto Jesus”
a. The Greek word for “looking” (KJV) or “fixing” (NASV) is Aphorao, ἀφοράω, and means “to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something”. Wuest. Word Studies in the Greek New Testament. Vol. II. p.214.
b. The moment we take our eyes off the finish line and fix them on the crowd of spectators (witnesses) our pace will begin to slacken.
2. “author and finisher of our faith”
a. The Greek word for “author” is archēgos, ἀρχηγός , and really is a compound of ago “to lead” and arche, “the first”.
b. The word would be better translated “the chief leader”. (Wuest)
c. He is “the chief leader” of faith in comparison to those saints of old found in chapter eleven.
d. He has finished the race and is our highest example of faith, and better than any of the examples in chapter eleven..
3. “throne of God”
a. This speaks of the princely qualification of Jesus.
b. He has sat down showing the completion of his work, or in this case his race.
iii. Christian Inspiration (3-4)
Hebrews 12:3-4 KJV
(3) For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
(4) Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
1. “him that endured”
a. Jesus had to endure until his work was finished.
b. Verse two tells us that this endurance brought joy to our Lord.