[Hebrews 12:1-2 KJV] 1 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, 2 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.
Paul will have us consider this great cloud of witnesses that we are compassed about with. These are heroes of the faith like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Joseph, Moses, and others. Like walking into a Hall of Fame room full of bronze busts of great athletes, or walking through The National Statuary Hall Collection of great Americans heroes, the lives of great men remind us that we can also make our lives sublime. But it requires patience. It requires endurance. And because the race is long, you must run your Christian race with patient endurance. And how long is it? It is from the day of salvation until the day of death. It is a lifelong marathon.
And Paul tells us three things we must do in order for us to run our race well. First, it involves seeing the faith the saints of Hebrews chapter 11 had, and then imitating their faith. Paul did not use these examples as impossible standards, but as possible standards. Second, we must “lay aside” every weight and sin that entangles us and slows us down. Anything that diverts your attention away from freely running your Christian race must be set aside.
And third, you must look unto Jesus. The Greek meaning is stronger than simply looking. The meaning is “to turn the eyes away from other things, other distractions, and fix them firmly on something else”. The Christian striving to run his race must look away from anything that distracts them and focus their eyes upon one thing – the finish line. In this case the finish line is “unto Jesus”. Looking unto Jesus, who is for us the perfect example of obedience and patient endurance. Who knew the Father’s will for him, who set his eyes firmly on the finish line the Father had for him, and with his last words was able to say “It is finished”! May we also be able to say the same thing when time runs out for our own race.