SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
June 22, 2008
Looking to Jesus We Find Strength to Run Life’s Race
Key Verse: Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. – Hebrews 12:1-2
Here beloved are 13 verses of scripture so full of inspiration that they will knock your socks off! If this passage does not light your fire, then your wood is soaking wet. Consider these electrifying ideas that cause the soul to tremble:
1. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses! We are not alone. Faithful servants of the past are alive in the Church Triumphant. They are with us. They are in our balcony, cheering us on. Their presence inspires us to continue the race. In the stillness we can hear them shouting, “Go on! You can do it! Don’t give up!” This renews our hope and cheers us on.
2. We can run life’s race with perseverance! We can do it because the Christian life is a marathon, not a hundred-yard dash. By looking to Jesus we can stay the course. Trails and misfortune can be overcome. We have Christ to guide us! Fannie Crosby did not quit the race because of her blindness. After years of letting Christ lead her, she could write of the Savior’s tender mercy and testify that he had “led her all the way.” If we will only “look to Jesus” we can experience the same guidance and sing Fannie’s song as our own:
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate'er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate'er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me-
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul a-thirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! a spring of joy I see.
3. Jesus endured the cross, shedding his own blood for our sins, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the Father! Our suffering tempts us to doubt that God is in control of the world. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus did not die in vain; he endured the cross to fulfill the will of God. As Maltbie Babcock said, we must never forget that this is our Father’s world, and “though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet”! Our hardships must not blind us to this reality.
4. Consider him so that you may not grow weary or lose heart! Indeed, consider Jesus! See him there, enduring the unbelievable pain of dying naked on a cross! In no way does our suffering compare to his. When we remember that, the size of our own problems diminishes and we do not lose heart in the heat of the race. Consider the price Jesus paid for you and you will not “grow weary in doing well.” “O Love divine, what hast Thou done! The immortal God hath died for me” (UM Hymnal, #287).
5. Humbly accept the trials of life because the Lord disciplines those whom he loves! Parents who do not discipline their children do not love their children. Authentic love includes discipline. Of course not every trial is sent from God. But some are. Because God loves us he “disciplines us for our good,” that our lives may produce the fruit of righteousness. God is holy. He expects his children to be holy. His discipline helps us to “share his holiness.” Holiness flows from submission and obedience.
6. Lift your drooping hands, strengthen your weak knees, and walk straight with your feet! In light of what Christ has done, we must stand on our feet! The sacrificial work of Jesus is enough to inspire us to lift our hand in praise to God. Our Savior’s love motivates us to become strong in our witness, bold in our service, and morally straight in everyday living. When we “stand up for Jesus” our lameness is healed by the grace of God.
7. Jesus goes before us as our pioneer leader. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. Faith in God makes sense because of Jesus. Jesus is our faith. Apart from him there is no Christian faith. He is the core of faith, the source of faith. He is our model of obedience to God. Jesus could endure the cross because he knew the Father’s joy awaited him. We also can endure trials for the joy awaiting us.
When his presence dwells within us, we can run life’s race with perseverance that honors our Lord and brings us at last to spiritual maturity as followers of Christ. The key is to look to Jesus as our leader and guide. The faithful saints of the ages did that, and we can too! Thanks be to God for Christ our Leader. He is out front of us, beckoning us to follow him!
(Contact Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org)