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Daily Reading

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

View daily reading plan: Hebrews 11.32-12.3

There is probably an allusion here to the Greek Olympic Games where the competitors would all take part in their events, but the final crowning was performed only at the end of the games. The early competitors would watch until the games ended. In this way, those of a past age stand as a testimony to the power of God to give victory to those who rely on Him, and also as spectators of those like us who follow in their train.

In view of our calling we are encouraged to “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”. The weights are not sins, but hindrances which could be perfectly legitimate in the ordinary course of life. The particular sin of unbelief may be in view, but every sin will rob us of strength for the race that we have been called to run. Patience has the idea of endurance against every obstacle.

The next verse gives to us the ultimate example for the race, our Lord Jesus Christ. We will never suffer as He suffered. The pain and shame of the cross for Him went beyond the physical and mental sufferings that some have known, to the full weight of divine wrath poured out on Him, “made a curse” (Gal 3:13), “made to be sin” (2 Cor 5:21), “bearing our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet 2:24). He not only “endured” (the same root as “patience” in Heb 12:1) but also “despised” the shame. It was counted for nothing in comparison to the joy that would result when not only He, but we too will share His glory.

Monday, 18 March, 2024

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