Names of Christ: Who do you say that I am?
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,[a] and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of[b] the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners,[c] so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
My elementary school years were spent in a small town in Southern Illinois. The state motto for Illinois is “The Land of Lincoln.” As you can imagine, Lincoln lore was a big part of our training in civics and civil behavior, because Abraham Lincoln was a “pioneer” of sorts. He blazed the trails and paved the way for a state and nation.
My elementary Sunday School years were spent in a small Presbyterian Church in Southern Illinois. In many of those classes we learned stories about Jesus. He was THE pioneer and perfecter of our faith. He gave His life for us as He endured the cross. He showed us that glory often follows obedient sacrifice. And as we run with perseverance the race of faith that is set before us, we need to shed the sin (even if it means shedding a little blood) so that we can share in the glory of life in the kingdom.
God of my life, give me the perseverance to run the race of faith today, following in the footsteps of Jesus, as I enjoy freedom from sin and the abundant life you promise. Amen.