Summary: A look at who Jesus is through the book of Hebrews

Jesus Is . . .!

Hebrews 12:1-3

September 17, 2017

We remember endings. We remember endings of our favorite movies, as well as endings in the lives of friends, family and even people we’ve admired from politics, sports, actors, actresses, musicians and more.

We remember epic meltdowns in sports. Those icons who missed that last second shot . . . or those who made that last second shot. We remember the endings of lives of important people. We recall how someone died with grace - - and some didn’t.

If I said Jim Bakker of PTL fame . . . remember him? Your first thoughts will be of how his ministry ended. Yet, whether you liked him or not, thousands of people would tell you they were tremendously blessed and encouraged by his ministry. Yet, he’s remembered for how his ministry ended.

Do you remember Reggie Miller’s 8 points in 9 seconds against the New York Knicks? You may not remember much from his career, but if you’re a Pacers fan, you remember that.

You remember the Immaculate Reception by Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers against Oakland in 1972?

Think about biblical characters as well. How about a guy named Judas? Judas decided to follow Jesus. He went out two by two with the others, healing the sick and exorcising demons. Judas did a lot of good with the other disciples. Yet, he’s remembered for how his life ended.

Do you remember some of your favorite actors/actresses or musicians who had untimely deaths?

We remember the end of the story more than we do the beginning. The same is true about our lives. People are remembered for how they finish their lives, their relationships, their ministry. We know life gets tough, but we need to know, believe and trust that when life gets tough, God helps us run the race before us.

With that in mind, we are now in week 16 of our walk through the book of Hebrews. We are looking at who Jesus is. How does Jesus make a difference in our lives? Today, we’re looking at how our faith helps us run that race called life.

We’re only looking at 3 verses. So, let me read these 3 verses, then we’ll break them down a little and see how we can apply them. We’re looking at Hebrews 12:1-3 ~

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,

let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,

and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,

who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,

despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. – Hebrews 12:1-3

As we live our lives, we quickly learn that life is not a sprint. It’s a long distance race, a marathon. That’s why Paul wrote the words of 2 Timothy 4:7. He was sitting in a Roman jail because of his faith. As he finishes his letter, he wrote these great words ~

7 I have fought the good fight and I have finished the race and I have kept the faith. – 2 Timothy 4:7

Paul believed he would receive the crown of righteousness because of his faith. And I’ve been privileged to say these words at many funerals for some of our saints as well.

Life is like a cross country race. If you’re in that race you have to follow the flags. Turn right, go straight, turn left, go up that hill, down that hill. You follow the course which has been laid out. That’s what Paul was saying about the race. He followed the course, the plan which God had set out before him.

You can’t decide, ‘I'm not feeling it today, I’m going to take a short cut. I hope nobody minds.’

You can't look at a particular hill and say, ‘That hill just looks nasty. I'll just skip it.’ You have to run the race marked out for you.

It’s the same in our lives, God has gone before you. He knows your ending from your beginning. He knows all the days of your life. He’s gone ahead of you and planted these flags ahead of you. And the writer tells us in verse 1 - -

1 let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

It's interesting that the author of Hebrews chooses the metaphor of the long distance race to illustrate the Christian life. The Christian life is a matter of endurance, struggle and difficulty. Yes, there is victory!! We have our victories in this world . . . . and then there’s the great victory when we cross the finish line and enter heaven. But often times, between now and then, it can be a struggle.

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