A Great Cloud of Witnesses
“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. 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 11:1 NIV
Monday night, the NCAA Basketball Championship Game was played in a coliseum in Minnesota, after a month or so of the 64 team NCAA tournament. Which ultimately brought us to the Final 4 match-ups and then the final two.... Virginia vs Texas Tech. It was played in front of approximately 80,000 people, as well as millions that watched the game from the mid court seats in their homes or sports grills across the country and around the world.
After making history the year prior for being the first Number 1 seed to ever lose to a 16 seed, Virginia overcame that heartbreak and ultimately pulled out an exciting overtime victory in this year’s championship... and their celebration and the testimonies of their coach and many of their players became the news of the day.
The 80,000 people in person was nearly a new attendance record for a basketball game. The millions watching on television will compete for the highest number of viewers in television history.
In the chapter preceding today’s text, Paul has been talking about all the godly heroes who had done what they had done “by faith” and he outlined a synopsis of each one that had come to mind. Yet, none of them had received what had been promised because “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”
Then he begins today’s passage with “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us…
… throw off everything that hinders” - choose best over good, average or bad.
… and the sin that so easily entangles”- be holy as Jesus is holy.
… run with perseverance the race marked out for us” - life is a marathon, not necessarily a sprint, marked with hills and valleys and turns - persevere.
… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” - Don’t lose focus. Stay steadfast and focused on Jesus throughout the “race.”
… for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”- He lived and died and lived again so that we might have life and the joy of eternity with God.
… Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” - Remember what He faced and did for us so that we will not grow weary, will not lose heart…. He did what He did so that we too will keep the faith.. so that we too will seize the day... so we too will live in faith, hope and love
O Lord, help us run strong the race you have set before us. Help us be diligent and focused casting off all that tries to ensnare us and drag us down. Forgive us of our sins and allows to break free from the chains that bind us and keep us from running strong and true. O Lord, thank you for what you endured for me (us). Thank you for the grace and forgiveness and joy that you have given. Thank you Jesus for the resurrection, for claiming victory for us all. O Lord, help us be holy as you are holy, run with faith and endurance as we continue the marathon in front of such a great cloud of witnesses. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
Keep the Faith… Carpe Diem