The Path Before Us

August 31, 2020

Hebrews 12

“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)

Big Idea: Our faith’s trailblazer and completer is the Son of God.

Many advances are started by one person and finished by another. Much of what we know about planetary motion was discovered by Johannes Kepler, but he built on years of observations by his mentor, Tycho Brahe. Edward Jenner invented vaccines when he discovered that infecting someone with cowpox would keep them from getting smallpox, but Jonas Salk changed the world by applying the principles to polio (and prayerfully soon, someone will bring the same ideas forward to COVID-19). Even in our families, we often see things unfulfilled and picked up by others. We might read the Hall of Faith in the last chapter and think that Christianity is like that: Moses had some, David added a little more, the prophets added to that, and Jesus finished it off. But today’s verse reminds us that this is not the case: Jesus is the author and the finisher of faith – the beginning and the end.

This is what gives chapter 12’s call to endurance its bite. We have been given the perfect example of where to go and how to get there. Jesus came to the beginning of the path when He was born in Bethlehem and followed it all the way through the cross to return to Heaven again. Christ’s portrait is not a rosy one. It involves pain, rejection, and separation. If we stray from the path set before us, God disciplines us to bring us back in line, but even when we are faithful, it can be grueling. 

But we do not do it because it is easy. We should hold fast to our faith, no matter the cost, for at least two reasons. First, the trail has already been blazed by the Son of God. There is no uncertainty about our life because He has already cleared the way. The pits we could not cross and the mountains we could not climb have been tamed by the One who conquered sin and death. Second, the path leads straight into the presence of our Heavenly Father. What better destination? And, although we will not ever make it to Him in this mortal body, we do grow closer to Him and stand more in His light every day. From A to Z, it is all of grace. Jesus has showed us the path, and His presence empowers us to take it.

Discussion Idea: If Jesus were just a perfect human, we could admire the life He lived. How does the fact that He was also God allow us to follow His footsteps?

Prayer Focus: Is there some area in your life that you have given up and decided that some act of obedience is unattainable? Pray for forgiveness and confidence in the fact that Jesus has taken the path before us.