1 So then, with endurance, let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, 2 and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne. 3 Think about the one who endured such opposition from sinners so that you won’t be discouraged and you won’t give up.
The writer to the Hebrews found courage in the Old Testament stories of faithful witnesses to God, many of which Hebrews 11 recited. It was an amazing catalog of faith and loyalty. In today’s reading, it was as though the writer said, “Now it’s our turn.” He called us, surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses, to not grow weary and lose heart. God calls us, too, to bear witness to the new life Jesus brings.
Lord Jesus, you live in my heart through the Holy Spirit and say, “You be my witness.” That approach works—someone shared your love and life with me. Now live in me and make me a faithful, true witness to you. Amen.
The roll call in Hebrews 11 of the great heroes of the faith almost reads like a guest list of a fantastic heavenly party for all God’s children. I think it’d be fun to be a “fly on the wall” & observe the festivities:
Context: Complaining about rainy weather with Noah of “The Flood” fame would not be the wisest move.
Abraham, who was promised that his “offspring would be as plentiful as the grains of sand on the seashore,” would be a strain for anyone to listen to as he bragged about all his grandchildren.
Abraham was told to sacrifice his son, Isaac. As Abraham & Isaac prepared an altar for the sacrifice, Isaac wondered where the sacrificial lamb was. Abraham said God would provide the ram. Knowing how teenagers can instantly recall misstatements & vague promises years later, it makes sense that Isaac might think that the promised ram meant a new Dodge truck for him.
Joseph, known for his coat of many colors, would look odd wearing all black like those influenced by the Gothic style.
Moses wandered the desert for 40 years, so we can assume that GPS skills are not his strength. Zipporah may also be at her wits end because Moses left the toilet seat up last night when they stayed in a Motel VI.
Samson was a Judge of Israel & known for his great strength. He was captured by the Philistines & ordered to perform for their amusement at a temple. He leans against the pillars & breaks them, causing the temple to collapse & kill the entire crowd.
It makes sense that Jacob/Israel, who had a dream of a ladder extending between earth & heaven with angels ascending & descending, would always have a ladder handy.
The prophet Jeremiah was famous for preaching against idolatry & greed, but a youngster might confuse him with the bullfrog from Three Dog Night’s song, “Joy to the World.”
Fortunately, we, too, can join this celebratory occasion. God has our nametag all set. We just need to accept His invitation. Now, comes the challenge: What are we going to talk about? I don’t think they will be too impressed by our weekend spent just watching Mandalorian episodes or our beautiful corner office overlooking the parking lot dumpster or that time we posted 24 updates to Facebook in 1 day. But they might enjoy hearing about our experience hosting a Quindaro Elementary School Winter Party or serving in the Cross-Lines Community Outreach Christmas Store or assisting with Family Night Out with Matthew’s Ministry.
Who knows, maybe we could be bold enough to chat with Noah
about the time our Caribbean cruise buffet ran out of prime rib. about the time our beagles rolled in something in the yard & the unimaginable smell. about how you had a Noah’s Ark motif in your nursery as a little guy - and you thought baby giraffes were the greatest.
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