Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Epistle reading this week continues the “heroes of the faith” section of Scripture from Hebrews 11. I observe today that it is awfully easy to misplace the point of this passage. When we read about people who do good works, who are very faithful, or who have opportunity to exercise gifts which we know come from God, our first reaction is to try to emulate them. Don’t you wish you could be like Abraham? Would you “dare to be a Daniel”? These are people, according to the text, of whom the world is not worthy. We want to imitate them, and that is good.
Though good, it is not the point of the text. The author of Hebrews tells us all this so we will look to Jesus. He tells us this because all the faithfulness of all these heroes was nothing if it didn’t bind them to Christ. God’s Word calls us to the completion of the faith, found in Jesus’ perfect life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised coming on our behalf, taking away our sin, presenting us faultless before God’s throne. Though the people described in Hebrews 11 are notable, though we should emulate them, they were not complete. The completion is found in Christ, toward whom all the lives of those who came before him point us.
In the end, Jesus is the one who endured suffering, shame, pain, and death on our behalf, as a sinless and innocent victim, the only one who could be our substitute. He is the one in whom we trust. He has purchased our salvation. It is to him that we look, he is the culmination of all history.
The conclusion? In Hebrews 12:3 we are told not to grow weary or fainthearted. The Lord of all has called us to look to him. He is our salvation.
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