Saturday, July 15, 2017
Surrounded by a Great Cloud
Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 22-24; Hebrews 12
Journal Entry on a passage from today’s reading:
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 12:1-3
1 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. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Heb 12:1-3 NIV)
The “great cloud of witnesses” to whom the writer of Hebrews is referring, is the collective people of faith spoken of in Hebrews 11 who had previously lived and died. Well known names like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Rahab… Unnamed people who suffered persecution, torture and grisly executions… These are the great cloud of witnesses by whom people of faith today are surrounded.
Certainly the faith and perseverance of those who have gone before us serve as witnesses and encouragement to us, but the wording here, that we are “surrounded” by those who have gone before, seems to indicate that they are able to see us and witness what we do, how we persevere, how we live and die by faith.
Those who have lived before us, and often suffered greatly, are not dead and gone. They are still alive in the heavenly realm. Therefore, let us live up to the standard they have set. Let us face our challenges and hardships with the same courage, faith and perseverance. Yet however much we revere our forbears, let us remember that our hope and strength comes not from them, as encouraging as their examples may be, but only as we “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”
Lord when I see how your presence has enabled others who have gone before me, my faith is bolstered. Thank You that I too may look to You. As You reveal to me anything that hinders or entangles, may I have the resolve to throw it off and complete the race You have marked out for me. Through Christ. Amen. –AP