Father in heaven, glory be to You, to Jesus, and to the Holy Spirit. Thank You for the many faithful men and women who have lived out the story of Your faithfulness. It is a blessing to be a part of that same story today. Help me to fix my focus on Jesus and to love my brothers, sisters, and neighbors. When I grow tired today, be my strength and help me run my race well. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Hebrews 11-13
Hebrews 11 At the end of Hebrews 10, the author exhorts his readers to persevere in light of who Jesus is and what He’s done, is doing, and will do. He has called us to faith, hope, and love. Now the author ransacks the Old Testament to offer examples of what persevering faith looks like. Again and again, we see that faith looks like a life shaped by trust in God’s promises, rather than what we see with our senses. But this “hall of faith” is not just an example for us. We’re reminded that we’re part of a centuries-long story of faith; in fact, it’s with us that our ancestors’ faith has reached its final end.
ROOT OF BITTERNESS?
Don’t let the root of bitterness grow. Watch a short reminder on Avoiding the Tempting Seeds of Bitterness (3 minutes).
Video posted under Standard YouTube License.
Hebrews 12 In light of these examples of faith, and knowing the goal of our faith has been revealed in Christ, the author urges us to “fix our eyes on Jesus” and persevere in hope, rather than “grow weary and lose heart.” He addresses several things that might cause us to quit the race: our ongoing struggle against sin, the Lord’s discipline through suffering and hardship, conflict within the body, and worldliness. To encourage us not to give up, he reminds us not only of the consequences of falling back, but the great spiritual reality that we’ve come to in Christ. We have been included in the heavenly assembly itself; we’ve been given an unshakable kingdom. Rather than turn away, we should be thankful and filled with awe; we should worship for such a great salvation.
Hebrews 13 Knowing our future is secure and the reward of persevering faith is great, the author calls us to live lives of love, completing his exploration of the three exhortations from Hebrews 10. We should love one another, especially those suffering for the faith.
We should love our spouses and not fall in love with money. We should love our leaders in the church, listening to them, rather than to false teaching. And we should love God in Christ, even if it means we face the shame and scorn of this world as He did.
The final benediction in 13:20–21 summarizes the entire letter. It’s a prayer that the God who resurrected Jesus from the dead and made peace with us through His blood would also give us all we need to persevere in faith. Having called us to persevere, he finishes the letter by praying God will preserve us by His grace and to His glory.
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.
- Faith, hope, and love are held out not only as the main virtues, but as living proof of persevering faith in the superior work of Christ, our high priest of the new covenant. Faith, hope, and love come from fixing our eyes on Jesus. What causes you to lose sight of Christ and fix your eyes on lesser things? Where do you feel weary and ready to give up? Do you need to refocus your eyes on Jesus today?
- What specific ways you can make an effort to live at peace with your brothers and sisters in Christ? What sins need to be confessed or confronted in love, so that “no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble”?
- Continue meeting regularly with your accountability partner, assessing one another’s spiritual growth. [Being a Disciple]