Set our eyes on Jesus

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

These two verses in Hebrews are one of the most favourite passages of the saints: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2, ESV)

Kent Hughes in his Preaching the Word commentary of the book of Hebrews used quite an interesting example to show what it means to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.”



It is a one-mile race that happened on August 7, 1954 during the British Empire Games in Vancouver, Canada – regarded as the greatest mile-run match-ups that ever took place. It was between Roger Bannister and John Landy who were the only two sub-four-minute milers in the world. At the final lap, in peak condition, they were even and Landy was leading the race. Landy began running faster and Bannister increased his pace as well. Then came the famous moment – what is replayed thousands of times – the last stride before the home stretch. Landy had a fatal lapse of concentration. He could not see Bannister. He looked back, Bannister launched his attack and he lost his lead. Bannister won the “miracle mile” that day by five yards. (Kent Hughes, Hebrews Vol. 2, Preaching the Word, Crossway, 1993, p.167).

From the note accompanying the YouTube clip above, Landy actually said, "When Lot's wife looked back she was turned into a pillar of salt. When I looked back, I was turned into a pillar of bronze!"

Hughes reminds us of a very important lesson: we need to be careful not to even begin to take our eyes off Christ to fix them on the hardship challenging us. Paul in the subsequent verses exhorted us that it is God who disciplines us, only because he loves us, because he is our Father and we his children.

Another lesson that is so important is this: “We cannot be profoundly influenced (or encouraged) by that which we do not know…Knowing God’s Word is essential for spiritual survival…we must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away”

pearlie

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