↓Audio link to the sermon:
Hebrews 12:1 says,「Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,」 Needless to say, these many witnesses mentioned here are the great men of faith from the Old Testament that were mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11. So far, we have learned the faith of Abraham and Moses. In verses 36-38, other people are mentioned. It seems that Isaiah was included there. The phrase「Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. …They were sawed in two; … They were persecuted and mistreated…」refers to the sufferings of Isaiah. It is said that Isaiah was arrested and sawed under the reign of King Manasseh. And the author concludes this passage that the world was not worthy of them. Following to verse 39, it says,「These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,」
What was promised to them was the arrival of a new era brought by Jesus and the blessing of grace brought by Christ. In Isaiah chapter 53, Isaiah prophesies the Passion of Christ. And in the following Isaiah 55: 1, Isaiah prophesies that the era of grace will come. 「“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.」(Isaiah 55:1 NIV) Although he could prophesy the arrival of the new era, he could not meet Jesus, the Savior. However, Hebrews 11:40 says,「since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.」The word “something better for us” refers to the previous context, of “what had been promised”. We met this Savior. Let us think of the salvation brought by Jesus, which was described as “something better.”
Jesus offered himself on the cross as a perfect sacrifice for us. The eternal redemption has been completed. As a high priest, Jesus sits at the throne of grace and offers intercessory prayers for us. And this made an access for us to be able to approach God without hesitation. Everyone, we have started a life of living with this Savior.
In the last part of Hebrews 12:1, it says, “….let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Let us open and read Matthew 11:28, it says,「“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.」The secret of how we do that is to take the yoke of Christ, and learn from him, as the following verse (29) says. The author of Hebrews challenges us to live with Christ, throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and continue to run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Not everyone lives in the same environment, but we use the term race to take on challenges. Of course, we don’t have to live in comparison with other people. However, when we race, we have to be prepared for it. It applies to how we live, how to spend money, to read the Bible, to have time of prayers, and pay attention to what is important. Preparing yourself is also about identifying the sins and all the burdens that hinders, and to face them and to deal with them. And the author encourages us to continue to run with perseverance. It is important to keep running while taking a break neccessarily.
Verse 2 says, “(let us) fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Jesus is the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Jesus experienced the suffering of the cross to become a perfecter. The suffering is accompanied by shame, and as in verse 4, it is also the work of God who fought against sin and resisted until shedding blood. However, we should never forget that there was a resurrection. Christ has been resurrected. The perfection of faith comes when we receive the life of resurrection. That day will come someday. Revelation 3:21 contains the promise,「To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.」Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. Jesus, the pioneer of faith, is also the one who brings us the perfection of faith. In order for that, let us open the door of our heart and eat with Christ, as Revelation 3:20 says. Eating is also about having an intimate fellowship. Let us welcome Christ to the throne of our hearts every day and enjoy our fellowship with Christ. I believe that one day we will receive the resurrected life and the day of the completion of faith will come.
Today’s worship song
66:Blessed Be Your Name
A132: I Want You Lord More