Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Nov 14 2013 - Hebrews 11:32-12:13 – Fix your eyes on Jesus

The Old Testament provides us with a rich store of examples of faith. They are those who, “through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies” (Hebrews11:33-34).

It’s easy to think that faith will triumph over every adversity; “Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, but His smile quickly drives it away; not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear, can abide while we trust and obey.” But we are also reminded that “There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawn in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and ill-treated – the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground” (11:35-38). Faith enabled these to trust God even when they were not delivered from the mouths of lions, when the fury of the flames was not quenched and when they did not escape the edge of the sword. They were ready to face death rather than deny God and throw away their hope in the promises of God. They believed that future blessing was more to be valued than present comfort. These also are part of the great cloud of witnesses whose lives and testimony spur us on in the life of faith.

But the supreme example of faith is the Lord Jesus. He is the "pioneer of faith"; he has blazed a trail for us and has gone before us on a path none had previously trodden. He is the "perfecter of faith" for it is only through him that faith receives the things promised; he has secured faith's reward. And he has secured this reward not for himself alone but for all who trust in him.

Jesus is the supreme example of one who did not give up when the going got tough: "For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:2b-3). He was willing to endure the horror of the cross, the derision of the mocking crowd, the weight of our sin and the curse of God, all for the joy that lay before him.

And what was that joy? In one sense it was the joy of glory; the joy of his return to the Father. But he already possessed that glory before he came into the world. He did not need to suffer the agony of the cross to gain it. The joy that was set before was not merely his own return to glory; it was the prospect of "bringing many sons (and daughters) to glory" (Hebrews 2:10). We were part of that "joy set before him"; he did it for us.

Think about it: it was the prospect of having you with him in glory that brought Jesus into the world and kept him from turning back from the agony of the cross. Fix your eyes, then, on him. If he did all this for you, can you not face a few trials along the way as you follow him to glory?

For the joy that is set before us, "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith" (12:1b-2a).

Lord Jesus, I am humbled and amazed when I consider that you faced the cross for me – for the joy of having me with you and sharing your glory. Help me to fix my eyes on you today and to rely upon your presence, help and strength to live the life of faith. Strengthen my feeble knees and help me to run well and to finish the race that I may share the crown of glory that will never fade away.

Peter Misselbrook