Wednesday in Holy Week
“Running Before a Cloud of Witnesses” – Hebrews 11:1-12:12
“Therefore, since we are su-rrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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 12:1; NIV)
In chapter 11 the author of Hebrews has given a long list of those who walked by faith looking forward to Jesus’s coming. When Jesus came; his life, death, and resurrection, blazed and marked out the trail for us to get to the Father and Heaven. Then the author makes an extraordinary statement: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.…” We get the picture of the great grandstands of Heaven, filled with the faith walkers from chapter 11 as well as all those we have known who have walked by faith and gone on to Heaven before us; are watching us to cheer us on.
In most earthly track meets or cross country meets, the people in the grandstands have no clue about the self-discipline, endurance, and heart it takes to run that race because they have never participated.
However, all of this cloud of witnesses have run this race and they know exactly what it takes.
Then there is Jesus, who has finished and marked out this course and comes back to help us by running just ahead to show us the way. All we have to do is keep our eyes fixed on Him and we will make it to the finish line.
When I was in cross country in high school (in Michigan it was a 3 mile race), My Dad would often be near the finish line. When I would come around the bend for the home stretch, I would see him in the distance waving me in. He would holler; “It’s time to kick it in, Steve!” Meaning it was time to dig down for that something extra inside. Go all out and hold nothing back. Years have gone by and my Dad is one of those in the grandstands of heaven.
Lord, help me to be faithful to you. To throw off whatever sins would slow me down or entangle my progress. I will keep my eyes fixed on you to help me through this race. And, when I come around the bend for that home stretch I expect to see my Dad in the distance waving me in and hear his voice saying: “Come on, Steve, it’s time to kick it in.”
The Rev. Stephen C. Floyd, First Church of the Nazarene