Monday, October 29, 2007

Christ Endured Great Pain for Us

(1) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. (2) We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward.

The Face of Christ, Detail from the Crucifixion from the Isenheim Altarpiece, circa 1512-16 by Matthias Grünewald

Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven. (3) Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up. (4) After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
(5) And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said,

"My child, don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don't be discouraged when he corrects you.
(6) For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes those he accepts as his children."

(7) As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? (8) If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. (9) Since we respect our earthly fathers who discipline us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever?

(10) For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God's discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness.

(11) No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening -- it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

(12) So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. (13) Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.
(found in Hebrews 12:1-13)

Jesus modeled the ultimate in endurance so that we would be encouraged to keep our faith strong in the race of life. Throughout the New Testament, the Christian life is compared to a race.

Three Men Running at a Race
Three Men Running at a Race

With that in mind, we need to realize that it is not a short sprint but a long-distance run. Sometimes, as we are participating in this race, we can grown discouraged by circumstances or by what others say to us. But just as successful runners must keep their eyes on the prize, we, too, must remember what this race is all about. We must bear in mind for whom and to whom we are running: Jesus Christ. In essence, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus.

Images courtesy of All Posters

  • posted on: Mon, Oct 29 2007 11:46 AM

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