Reading: Hebrews 12:1-3 and John 13:21-32
Verse 1: “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.”
Hebrews 12 calls us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” We are pointed to Jesus’ example not so that we can be perfect but so that we can draw strength and encouragement from him. The author of Hebrews has just walked through the stories of the ‘heroes of the faith’ – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham… This is the “great cloud of witness” that he or she refers to in our passage today. It culminates with Jesus in Hebrews 13. Since this writing there have been many others who stand in this line. We are encouraged to strive to stand in that line. To that end the author writes, “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.” And then again, in verse 3, we are drawn back to Jesus Christ.
Jesus was the one who “endured” much from sinful men. One of these was Judas, the betrayer. Maybe you’re not like me, but I struggle with those who betray me. Anger and thoughts of revenge can creep in pretty quickly. That is not the example that Jesus sets for us in John 13. He lays it out there that one of the disciples will betray him, he identifies Judas, and he says to him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” Jesus understands the frailty of humanity. He knows how easily we can get entangled in sin. There is no anger or animosity or thoughts of revenge.
And there’s one more thing. It is not something that happens in the Bible but it is something that I am sure would’ve given the opportunity. I say this based on the whole example set by Jesus in the gospels. Had Judas come and sought forgiveness, Jesus would’ve gladly extended it. He might’ve even offered it before Judas said a word. That’s the Jesus I love and seek to follow. May it be so for us all.
Prayer: Lord God, you endured so much. Yet you willingly went to the cross, for these men and for me. You continue to endure much from sinners like me. And in love, I know you’d go to the cross again and again if that was what it took to save us. Lord, lead and guide me each day to model and share that love and grace for and with others. Amen.