“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, 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.”
Life is full of distractions. Every moment of the day something seeks to grab our attention. If we are going to “run with patience the race that is set before us,” we have to look away from all the distractions and look unto Jesus. When we stop and turn our hearts and minds to our blessed Savior we begin to see two things. (1) We see that Jesus is our salvation and (2) we see that Jesus is the greatest example of faith there is.
First, Jesus is our salvation. We are not saved by our good works, we are not saved by our strong faith, we are not saved by our abilities. We are saved by Grace through Faith. We are only saved by the free grace of God extended to us in the Person of Jesus Christ His Son, God’s Grace in human form. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus said plainly in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
All of the religions along with the ordinary way of the world around us (which is a religion itself) say if you find your way in life you will be satisfied (saved), if you learn the truth you will be satisfied (saved), if you do this or that you will have a good life and therefore be satisfied (saved). Dr. Seuss said, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” Gandhi said, “There is no god higher than truth.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is not the length of life but the depth of life.”
But Jesus says, “I AM the way, the truth, and the life.” That is the great difference between Jesus and everything else. Jesus is such a breath of fresh air, the only thing new under the sun! Jesus does not just show us the way to God, He IS the way to God. Jesus does not just teach us the truth, He IS the truth. Jesus does not just show us what a good life is, He IS the life. That is why there is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is the salvation! You can’t have salvation outside of Jesus Christ because He Himself is your salvation.
If you are reading this and you have never asked Jesus to save you, I wonder would you do it now? You can do it right this moment if you’d like. All you must do is admit that you are a sinner who needs a Savior, believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh who died on the Cross for your sins and was raised from the dead three days later for your justification, and publicly confess Jesus as your Savior and Lord. The Bible makes you a promise in Acts 2:21, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Will you take God up on His promise? If you receive Christ today, use this website to let us know.
So when we see Jesus for who He really is, our salvation, we are freed up to run the race of faith. Because we realize that the race of faith begins at the finish line. Jesus came to save us, He didn’t just come to make it possible for us to be saved. When we put our trust in Jesus we are saved that very moment, and so the life of faith begins at the finish line in the victory of the Son of God because remember Jesus on the Cross did cry, “It is finished!”
But when we stop and turn our hearts and minds to Jesus we see something else, Jesus is the greatest example of faith there is. Time and space prevent us from examining Jesus faith as deeply as we’d like but I’d like to meditate together on three events at the end of Jesus’ life that display His great faith.
First, do you remember in the upper room on the night Jesus was betrayed when Jesus washed His disciples feet? How amazing. God in the flesh shining shoes. What love, what compassion, what grace, what humility! What empowers Jesus to do that? The Bible tells us in John 13:3-5, “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciple’s feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.”
How was Jesus able to humble Himself so? The answer lies in Jesus knowledge of who He is and what He has. It says he knew “that the Father had given all things into His hand, and that He was come from God and went to God.” He knew God was His Father and He knew that He was God’s Beloved. Therefore He was able to humble Himself.
Second, I think all of us can agree that one of the most intense moments in the New Testament is in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is no coincidence that the road to the ruin of man runs through a garden in Genesis and the road to the redemption of man runs through a garden in the Gospels.
The faith of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is something to be admired and wondered at. How could Jesus face what He was going to face? Remember, Jesus is fully God and fully man. Don’t just say, “Oh He could do it because He is God.” How did the human Jesus willingly go to the Cross to pay the penalty for every sin that has ever or will ever be committed including yours and mine?
The answer is in His prayer in the Garden. His prayer is often remembered for its last words, “Not my will, but thine, be done.” But most fascinating to me is its first words. “My Father.” You see Jesus was clinging to His relationship to God and that is how He was able to face the agonies of the Cross.
And thirdly, remember the bloody Cross? Can you hear the Son of God’s final words on that terrible and wonderful day when mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace kiss? Luke 23:46, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Jesus was able to endure to the end because He knew who God was, His Father, and He knew who He was, God’s Beloved Son.
If we are going to run the race of faith we have to know what we have and we have to know who we are. What do we have? We have Jesus and Jesus is our Salvation. Hebrews 7:25 speaking of Jesus, “Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” In Jesus we know we have full and complete Salvation. Who are we? Through Jesus’ work for us we know that God is our Father. We have Salvation to the uttermost and in Christ, we are God’s beloved sons and daughters, in whom He is well pleased.
It’s good to look away from the distractions and look unto Jesus.