…[L]et us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1b-2 (NKJV)
The idea of a race to illustrate “life” is very familiar to many. It represents struggle, grief, tragedy, training, winning/losing, suffering, agony, celebration, accomplishment, and so on. In fact, it is the Greek word “agon,” as in “agony.” The author of Hebrews (maybe Paul but I don’t get dogmatic about that) gets right to the point — we need endurance and that comes by Jesus.
Our race is not a sprint. Our race is long distance race. Our prize at the end of the race to which we look for is Jesus. The promise of eternally being in the presence of Christ our Lord, God the Father, the Holy Spirit is what keeps us going in life. And what did Jesus do for us that we have should have the endurance to run this race?
He endured the cross, despised it’s shame, and lived to sit at the right hand of the throne of God! It was joy for Him! It was joy because He gave His life for a sinner such as I that I may live. He took the punishment I deserved and earned and gave me salvation and mercy that I neither neither deserved nor earned. He laid in the grave where I should be rotting. And on the third day — HE AROSE! He lives! He defeated death and brought life (2 Timothy 1:10).
By looking to Jesus and His gospel I will endure.
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (NKJV)
Lord, thank You for enduring what I could not. I look to You as the Author and Finisher of my faith. You died for the sins I could not pay for. You live that I may have new life. I look to You.