A Great Cloud of Witnesses
Scripture Reading — Hebrews 12:1-3
Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of wit-nesses … let us run with perseverance … fixing our eyes on Jesus.
—Hebrews 12:1-2 —
In my high school years I ran many 5 kilometer races, but I came in first only once. Not surprisingly, that’s the race I remember the most clearly.
When the finish line was close, I found myself competing against the fastest runner in our group. The onlookers started cheering me loudly. In my side view their faces turned into some kind of a fuzzy multi-color cloud. I pulled all my strength and finished first!
The cloud mentioned in today’s verse isn’t really a cloud at all. It’s “a great cloud of witnesses.” This is not a description of weather–related phenomena but rather a figure of speech meaning a great number, a multitude.
In Hebrews 11 we find a long list of Old Testament heroes of faith that encourage us with their example. Today we could add New Testament believers and great heroes of faith from church history. We are also encouraged by many “living saints” in our local churches and extended families.
The race of faith is different from any other race we might run. Instead of competing with others, we are fighting against our own sinful nature. The only hope for us to finish is to give up our sins and to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author of our faith.
Father, we praise you for the example of the heroes of faith who have run this race before us. Give us strength and perseverance, and help us fix our eyes on Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.