Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 NIV)
Imagine what the crowd in an Olympic stadium must look like to a runner who is standing at the starting line of a gold-medal race. That’s the image our writer describes here in Hebrews 12. We are athletes down on the track, surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, a crowd so vast the individual faces blur and we cannot pick them out. The people in the crowd are not mere spectators, though. They’re all former athletes themselves, veterans of the race we are running. They are the saints of Hebrews 11—plus an additional 2000 years’ worth since then—and their appearance in our mind’s eye is an incentive to stay on the course and run all the way through the finish line as they did.
The race that is set before us is a marathon, not a dash, and to run it well we need endurance, determination, and perseverance. We can’t afford to be weighted down by the entanglements of sin. Above all, we must concentrate on Jesus, who is both the source from which faith comes and the example of how faith lives. He has finished the course in triumph, and will help us reach heaven where he is. Nothing short of that will do. Just running in the race of faith isn’t enough. What matters is finishing it.
Used with permission.