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, 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.
First let us look at the first statement.
A cloud is defined in this statement as a large body of moving things in the air or ground. Compassed is to be surrounded by something. So we can say
the author was indicating that they were surrounded by a large number of people who were a witness to something. So this grabbed my attention with two questions. First, what
were they witness to, and second, why does this chapter and this sentence start with the word 'wherefore'? Wherefore, is like saying therefore or so. In other words,
it's like saying, "Therefore seeing we are......or So we see that we are...", in this particular statement. That let's me know that there must have been something else mentioned as to why this verse stands out. So I went back to chapter 11. It starts
with that familiar verse:
Now faith is the substance of things
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
This chapter and verse starts out by talking about faith, and Hebrews 12 starts
out by talking about Jesus being the author and finisher of our faith. But before
the writer could get to that point, certain things had to be defined. First,
let us look at the definition from the American Heritage dictionary.
faith ( P ) Pronunciation Key (fth)
1 Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea,
2 Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms
at belief. See Synonyms at trust.
3 Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one's supporters.
4 often Faith Christianity. The theological virtue defined as secure belief
in God and a trusting acceptance of God's will.
5 The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
6 A set of principles or beliefs.
What starts out is the second one that says that it's a belief on something
that does not have any logical proof or evidence. Then I think of what this verse
says, that it's the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seeing.
It's the result of what you hoped for, and what you hoped for you could not see it until it became manifested. But faith is your belief in action and that period between when you first began to
believe until what you believe in becomes manifested. If I have faith that I
will be healed, I must keep believing and walking as though I am healed until I am healed.
If I believe that I will get a financial blessings, I must believe and walked as if I already have it. I hope for healing, I hope for a financial blessing, but the evidence is not seen. But faith is what creates the results. So after this
verse, we read of how faith was used from Abel all the way to Solomon. It is
here that we find who the witnesses are in Hebrews 12:1. At the time of this
teaching, as well as today, we are surrounded by people who have witness the results of faith, and how faith can be like that
mustard seed, growing into a vine which overtakes all over plants and vines in it's presence.
So being that we are surrounded by those who understand and have witnessed
the results of faith, we should lay aside things that weigh us down. This could
be problems in our lives, things that we need, family members who are ill, or anything that is heavy on our minds which may
cause us to feel down, depressed, sad, distracted, etc. Why? Because those who
surround us know that faith can produce results in those areas of our lives if we look on Jesus as being the author and finisher
of our faith. We should also lay down sin.
This verse specifically points out besetting sins. In the definition for
beset, it says "annoying continually". Meaning the devil continues to annoy us
and tempt us to give into sin; the same sin. It is usually things which we know
we should lay aside, but we don't. It's the thing that we give up, and give back
into. We give it up again, and we end up doing the same thing over and over again. Because everything we lay it aside, the devil tempts us right back into it. But likewise do we turn to Jesus to help us to lay aside whatever may beset us in our lives. And thirdly the writer says to run with patience the race that is set before us. A long distance runner doesn't win by speed, but by enduring until the end.
They will tell you that they will not try to run fast until the get close to the finish line. But the rest of the race is based on pace and endurance. If
you run fast the whole time, you will tire easily and make it difficult to finish the race.
I am a witness to this, because when I first got started into ministry, I was
doing about 9 different responsibilities in the church. It was a deacon that
I heard make this statement which had me thinking; he said, "If you are doing just one thing, you can give it your 100%. If you are doing more than one thing, you have to divide your 100% among all that
you do, but you can never give one thing 100% if you are trying to do it all at the same time.
In other words, if you are doing 2 things, it can be 50% to one and 50% to the other.
It can even be 99.9% to one and 0.1% to the other. But you'll never give
100%" Trust me, I was very tired trying to keep up with all that I was doing
in addition to my full time job. Some of the things were things God wanted me
to do, but some where things that I wanted to do for Him. The things that I wanted
took time away from the things that HE wanted. So in this race that we are in,
we may wanted to do so much for God, but we must first patiently consider the things that HE wants us to do first. And even in doing that we may still get tired or weary, be we must look towards Jesus.
He created our faith when He endured the cross regardless of the shame of all
the people looking at Him, mocking Him, and yelling at Him. He will finish our
faith when we see Him for ourselves set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
There is faith that things will happen, and then there is faith in God. He
is the finisher of our faith because of this reason. It is because earlier we
talked about faith producing something that we see and we will not see Jesus until we enter the gates of the Kingdom
Therefore we must endure until the end so that we can see the results of our faith in God, knowing that He is real,
knowing that He is just, knowing that He is the Alpha and the Omega, and that we WILL see Him one day in His full glory! Knowing that our flesh is not capable of beholding His glory, but oh when we see Him
spirit to Spirit, we will know that He glory shines forever more. So through
all that we are doing, and all that we will do, let us remember to keep the faith, and know that even though some things we
do see just yet, we must hold out trusting that Jesus will make it not just a prayer, but evidence that He does answer prayer. And through that do we become witnesses of that faith, and examples by laying down
our burdens and sins, so that we surround those who are hoping for a miracle so that they too will know that with God all
things are possible. Now may the peace of God which passes all understanding
guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.