4.4.23 | Fixing Our Eyes Upon Jesus: Hebrews 12: 1-3


*In-person at 12 Bassett St, Providence RI

Prayer Guide:

One of the most difficult races I ever ran was the Brooklyn half marathon. It was a sweltering day in late June. Not only was the temperature in the 90s early in the morning, but it was humid. It was very hard to stay hydrated on a day like that, even if you weren’t trying to run 13 miles. The race involved two loops around Prospect Park, which at least had some shade. But then it was followed by a long straight shot 5 miles down Ocean Avenue. The sun was directly overhead. No shade whatsoever. I remember at multiple times on that journey, I wanted nothing more than to give up. 

But I couldn’t stop running because my wife, Sarah, had my keys…and my wallet…and my phone. And she was waiting for me at the finish line, at the Coney Island boardwalk. If I had stopped, like everything in me wanted to, I would have no way home. No subway fair. No nothing. 

The fact that Sarah was there, waiting for me at the finish line, is what enabled me to finish the race. It was thinking of her…both practically (I needed a wallet and a phone)…and emotionally. She was WAITING for me, to cheer me on, to celebrate with me, to kiss me and give me a sweaty hug at the finish line, to tell me how proud she was of me. And that is what kept me going.

The scripture says that Jesus, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising its shame. Jesus ran and finished his race, which was brutal. He suffered such evil and injustice, culminating on the cross, for the joy set before him. What was that joy? It was the same as mine. It was for his bride. He endured the shame for us, so that we could be cleansed, made holy by his blood and body broken for us. So that we could become a radiant bride, and so that we could be united with him. 

And now, Jesus is waiting at the finish line for us to finish the race. The reason we run the race is not just because Jesus set us an example. Not just because he showed us how to run. But because HE himself is our prize. He is the one we run for, the one we run to be with. And if we keep running the race, despising the shame and suffering that comes with it, we will be with him. He has our wallet, he has our keys, he has our phone. He is waiting to embrace us. To welcome us into our eternal inheritance. 

The key to continuing to run when it is hot and humid and exhausting and discouraging is to fix our eyes on Jesus. To think of Him. To know that in addition to the cheers of the cloud of witnesses, Jesus Himself is cheering us on, and he is waiting for us to cross the finish line. So that we can be one with him. 

For Reflection/Prayer:

How aware are you of God’s love and longing for you? That he is waiting for you at the finish line? That Jesus ran and finished his race so he could be with you?

Pray for your eyes to be fixed on Jesus and your longing for, and devotion to him, to grow deeper and more profound. Pray for a greater awareness of the joy that is set before you at the end of the race marked out for you. 

Extend this prayer over the rest of the church…that the church would be marked by a profound longing…the longing of the betrothed for her bridegroom.