Looking to Jesus
“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. 12:2).- Hebrews 12:2
By faith, the old covenant church performed mighty deeds, received many blessings, and sacrificed their lives rather than abandon the faith. They did all these things in eager expectation of the day of Christ, the day that they never saw in their lifetimes but only greeted from afar (Heb. 11:13). The lives of these saints show us that we live in a better age since we have experienced Jesus not from afar and in shadows, but in reality.
Because these saints were able to continue trusting in Christ despite never seeing Him, how much more then are we able to maintain our trust in Him? These saints cheer us on (12:1), reminding us that we live in a better age, an age in which the final fulfillment of all God’s promises have begun.
Yet, as we wait for Christ to consummate all things, we find that our situation is not entirely different from that of the old covenant saints. We too have a race to run with endurance. We too have to cast aside sins that hinder us so that we will cross the finish line (v. 1).
We will only be able to do this if we look to Jesus who is the “founder and perfecter of our faith” (v. 2). We must keep the eyes of faith upon our Lord and look to nothing else or we will not endure.
These exhortations might lead us to assume that the author of Hebrews believed that those with true faith are not secure in their salvation. However, today’s verse tells us that this is not the case. If Jesus founds and perfects true faith, then all with true faith cannot lose it.
Nevertheless, we demonstrate that Jesus has given us faith and that He perfects it only as we exercise this faith in the midst of adversity. Jesus is our example of what it means to persevere, for He, looking to the joy that would come, endured the suffering of the cross and is therefore now seated at the right hand of God (v. 2). He was obedient to God in the midst of the worst suffering imaginable. Therefore we too must be obedient if we call Him Lord.
Jesus, however, is not only an example of persevering faith, He is also its object. John Owen reminds us that Jesus is the one “in whom we place our faith, trust, and confidence, with all our expectation of success in our Christian course. Without this faith and trust in him, we will derive no benefit from his example.”
Our faith looks to Jesus both as an example of perseverance and as our reward. When we take our eyes off of Him, our circumstances are sure to weigh us down. Take some time today to look not at your situation but at Jesus. Praise and worship Him for He is the prize for which we run and only He can give us endurance.
Passages for Further Study
1 Cor. 9:24
1 Tim. 6:12