Discover Scripture and Life
The author of Hebrews presents us with rich stories of faith. In a long list of biblical heroes, we find examples of trust in God that enabled them to face the trials of life faithfully. In addition to this “cloud of witnesses,” we have Jesus, the perfect model of faithful endurance.
29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.
32And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented—38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.
12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Questions for Reflection
- What does it mean to you that not all these people of faith met with success?
- What does it mean to run the race of faith? Who has done that well in your view?
- What helps you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus? What does it mean to fix eyes on Jesus?
Discover More about the Message
Reflect on the message you heard in person or on-line. You can listen to the message online here.
- What is something you heard that was interesting or engaging?
- Is there anything that raised a question or needed more explanation?
- What is one thing you take with you? It may be something to do, something to trust, or a wisdom of insight to have.
Together with God in Prayer
OPTION 1—ONE WORD. Take time to reflect about your day, your concerns, and how God may be speaking to you. As you reflect about your day, what is one word that summarizes how you are feeling? What might God be saying to you in this word?
OPTION 2: Reflect on the past 24 hours
Step 1: Ask God to calm your self and help you see your life from God’s perspective.
Step 2: Review the last 24 hours. What happened? What stands out? What captures your attention? What is a High and Low of this time? When did you experience God’s presence? When did you feel apart or distant from God?
Step 3: Give your day to God your day. Ask for forgiveness where needed. Give thanks.
Step 4: Look forward. How might you be more loving this day? What is God calling you to do?
Prayer—Who or What can you pray for today?
Close in the Lord’s Prayer—Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Five Minutes with God
Introduction: Each of us runs the race of faith. Whether our race feels like a sprint or a marathon, we need encouragement, guidance, and provisions to make it to the finish line. The author of Hebrews reminds us that we have all three: those who have finished the race are a “great crowd of witnesses” cheering us on; Jesus is the “pioneer” who has run ahead to guide us; and as the “perfector” of our faith, Jesus provides us with all we need to sustain us to the end of our race.
Spiritual Practice: What does your faith race look like these days? A sprint? A marathon? An obstacle course? Take a small piece of paper and write JESUS in the middle of it. On one edge of the paper write the name of someone who has finished their race and is now cheering you on. On another edge, write a need you have for guidance. On a third edge, write something you need to sustain your faith. Finally, on the last edge, write FAITH. Now keep this paper with you as a reminder this week that you are not alone as you run your race.