Hebrews 12:3

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. Hebrews 12:3

The word “For” is given to explain why he exhorted the reader to fix his gaze upon Jesus. He had said that Christ “endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” With that now understood, the author says, “For consider Him.” This is still speaking of Jesus, the subject of what continues to be stated.

We are being encouraged to carefully reflect on the example Christ has provided because (as will be noted in the verses ahead) any one of us is bound to face his own trial in the future. In reflecting on what Christ faced, we can be more fully prepared to handle the challenges that come our own way. Understanding this, he says that it is He “who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself.”

The world was, and is, at enmity with Christ because He brings it under conviction of sin. In His perfection, the sin of others is highlighted. This inevitably brought about hostility from sinners. Albert Barnes notes that at the time of Christ’s coming, the Jews “opposed his plans, perverted his sayings, and ridiculed his claims.”

There was great enmity towards Him, and attacks against Him were common, even to the point of attempting to execute Him in one way or another. It seems that at every turn someone was waiting in the wings to try to either trip Him up, or they were watching to see Him make the slightest mistake in regard to either the Law of Moses or their own additions to it. Despite this constant barrage of attacks, He stayed the course set before Him, not deviating from the Father’s will. It is this example which the author uses in order to say to his audience, “lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”

The Greek reads, “that you may not be wearied in your souls – being faint” (YLT). The idea is that in emulating Christ’s example, the believer will be able to endure any such similar attempt to hush him up, trip him up, or redirect him from the proper course of obedience to the Lord. Just as Christ went even to the cross of Calvary to do the Father’s will, so we should look at whatever comes our way as just a step on the road to glory. No matter how difficult or disagreeable the trial may be, it is one that our Leader has already been on. Instead of becoming weary and discouraged, we are to be renewed in the strength of the Lord and encouraged to continue on.

Life application: The author is reminding us of a fundamental truth of Christianity. We are not hated because we are violent, or because we destroy the unborn, or because we blow ourselves and others up, or because we are somehow intolerant. Rather, we are hated because we bring the truth concerning the fallen state of man to a world that doesn’t want to accept it.

People want to believe that they are in good in and of themselves and, that because of their own righteousness, they are in tight with God. They trust that all the wrong they have done will simply be forgotten because of a few good deeds that they have accomplished in between the innumerable sins of a lifetime. It is hard to face up to the fact that we are really sinful beings, and so the world simply attempts to deny this truth. It is so much easier to live in denial and pray to something – anything – other than an infinitely holy Creator.

This verse reminds us of this so that we won’t grow weary, lose heart, and become ineffective in our Christian life. If Jesus received opposition even leading to death, we really should expect no more. If we live a life without this, how wonderful that is. But if we face persecution, torture, or even death, we need to simply accept that Jesus walked that path before us.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding us that not everything in our Christian walk will be fun and prosperity, but rather we should expect hardships, opposition, and trials. Give us the ability to endure whatever comes our way that You alone may be glorified. Amen.

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