Food for Friday

Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Two young men bent on mischief had picked up another man in a Moncton bar, and convinced him to take them for a drive. When they were outside the city, the two took over the car and headed toward the US border. Along the way, they killed the man they had pretended to befriend, and dumped his body in a Sussex area gravel pit. Stealing his money and other possessions, they went on to Maine, where they were eventually arrested and returned to New Brunswick for trial. During the course of the trial, I watched as a carefully prepared list of police investigators, eye-witnesses, and others were called to testify. The prosecutors called many witnesses, and left no detail unaccounted for. All the two accused men could try to do in their own defense was blame each other for the killing. To no one’s surprise, they were convicted and sentenced to life in prison. The jury had the advantage of a cloud of witnesses on which to base their decision. So do we as we make life decisions for ourselves.

The writer of this epistle has just described the faith of Old Testament saints, which he presents as evidence in favour of our pursuing a life of faith for ourselves. The evidence that is presented in Chapter 11 is very convincing, and we are put to shame as we realize how pathetically little we do, even with all of the advantages we have over the Old Testament folks. They never had the opportunity to read the evidence put forth by the writers of the Gospels about the life of the Lord Jesus. They had no privilege of reading of the acts of the apostles, or studying the teachings of the epistles, or examining the future as detailed in the great book of the Revelation. No, based on the evidence they had in the writings of the prophets, or in the revelations that God provided, they lived fruitful testimonies to God’s purposes and mercy. And, as our text reminds us, there was a cloud of evidence from them.

What have we done with the evidence from that cloud of witnesses? Have we allowed their evidence to dispel all of our doubts about God and His Word? Have we allowed their evidence to convince us of our own responsibilities as children of God? Have we taken their evidence as instruction and encouragement for ourselves? Have we rested our case on their evidence as proof that the Christian’s race is a worthy pursuit?

The cloud of witnesses beckons us today to faithfully and diligently pursue the only race for which there is an eternal reward. – Jim MacIntosh

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