We are to focus our gaze on Jesus Christ. Things are not as bad as they seem. Seize opportunities for spiritual growth. Live like a child of God. [UPDATED]
VERSE 1. Therefore let’s also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
NIV translation: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
cloud of witnesses. This refers to the Old Testament heroes of the faith. And it probably refers to the believers who are already in eternity.
VERSE 2. looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
NIV translation: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
looking to. The Greek word is “apharao.” It means to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ.
Nehemiah 4:14. I looked, and rose up, and said to the nobles, to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them! Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
author. The Greek word is “archegos.” It means chief leader, prince, predecessor, pioneer or author.
faith. The Greek word is “pistis.” It means conviction of the truth of anything, belief.
for the joy that was set before him. Jesus Christ had his eyes fixed on his goal, which was our eternal salvation.
endured the cross. To achieve his goal of our eternal salvation, Jesus Christ was willing to endure the terrible events that led to it. He was tortured and crucified.
2 Maccabees 7:12. As a result, the king himself and those who were with him were astonished at the young man’s soul, for he regarded the pains as nothing.
VERSE 3. For consider him who has endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, that you don’t grow weary, fainting in your souls.
KJV translation: For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
him who has endured. No matter how difficult our situation may seem, Jesus Christ has already faced worse. Far worse.
endured. The greek word is hhypomenete. It means “persevere.”
NIV translation: In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
not yet resisted to blood. In our own struggles against sin, few of us have resisted to the point of shedding our blood.
How many of us Christians have chopped off a hand or poked out an eye to avoid sin? How many of us Christians have thrown ourselves into a thorn bush to avoid sinning?
VERSE 5. You have forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with children, “My son, don’t take lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him;
VERSE 6. for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
VERSE 7. It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with children, for what son is there whom his father doesn’t discipline?
VERSE 8. But if you are without discipline, of which all have been made partakers, then you are illegitimate, and not children.
without discipline. The author is probably thinking of Christians who were disloyalty to the faith.
illegitimate. That is, “bastards” (NAB translation).
VERSE 9. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?
the Father of spirits. The Greek word for “spirits” is πνευμάτων (“pneumatōn”). It means wind, breath, spirit.
VERSE 10. For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness.
VERSE 11. All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
VERSE 12. Therefore lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees,
VERSE 13. and make straight paths for your feet, so what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
VERSE 14. Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord,
Follow after peace. We are to strive for peace.
with all men. We are to be at peace with all people.
VERSE 15. looking carefully lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and many be defiled by it,
falls short of the grace of God. If we miss the grace of God, we can become a bitter root whose unfaithfulness impacts other believers.
VERSE 16. lest there be any sexually immoral person, or profane person, like Esau, who sold his birthright for one meal.
VERSE 17. For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for a change of mind though he sought it diligently with tears.
VERSE 18. For you have not come to a mountain that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and to blackness, darkness, storm,
burned with fire. The author is recalling the situation at Mount Sinai where God delivered the Commandments to Moses.
VERSE 19. the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which those who heard it begged that not one more word should be spoken to them,
VERSE 20. for they could not stand that which was commanded, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned”.
VERSE 21. So fearful was the appearance that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”
VERSE 22. But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels,
the heavenly Jerusalem. The Old Covenant was an earthly kingdom. And it was remarkable.
But the New Covenant is a heavenly kingdom. It is even more remarkable.
VERSE 23. to the festal gathering and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
assembly of the firstborn. This might mean the assembly of those whose inheritance rights are already won. That is, professing Christians.
VERSE 24. to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel.
VERSE 25. See that you don’t refuse him who speaks. For if they didn’t escape when they refused him who warned on the earth, how much more will we not escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven,
warned on the earth. The people of the Old Covenant were warned by Moses and the prophets.
warns from heaven. Us people of the New Covenant are warned from heaven itself.
VERSE 26. whose voice shook the earth then, but now he has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.”
Haggai 2:6. For this is what the LORD of Hosts says: ‘Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the dry land;
VERSE 27. This phrase, “Yet once more” signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain.
VERSE 28. Therefore, receiving a Kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe,
NAB translation: Our God is a consuming fire.
God is a consuming fire. John of the Cross describes the presence of God as The Living Flame of Love.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.