January 7th, 2022 – Friday Afternoon
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~ Hebrews 12:2
How do we run well? This question was partially answered in the last devotional: We must throw off every encumbrance or weight – those things slow us down; we must lay aside every sin – sin entangles us like a snare; finally, we must run with endurance – persevering through the hardship, pain, and suffering of life until our race is finished. Those three things are imperative to running well, but we must not ignore this final command; it really is the key to the other three parts of running well.
What is this final command? What is this verse communicating? First off, the phrase “fixing our eyes” is actually translated from one Greek word that basically means “to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something” or “tropically, to turn one’s mind to”. Therefore, to “fix our eyes on Jesus” means to stop looking at anything else and to look at Him – all of the focus, all of the time. Lest we be mired in the mud of confusion, this passage is not referring to our physical eyes (though what we allow to pass in front of them and how we use them is certainly affected); rather, this is speaking of our spiritual vision and mindful focus. We are to look to Jesus alone and undistractedly, no matter what.
Second, see how Jesus is described here: The author and perfecter (or finisher) of faith. Remember that great cloud of faith-filled witnesses in Hebrews 11? They lived faithfully and serve as testimonies of God’s faithfulness, but they were not perfect. They sinned and they failed like every other human being…with the exception of the God-human – Jesus Christ. He perfectly executed His Father’s will and He Himself is the Author, the Prince, the Leader of faith. No one else goes before Him and only He is the predecessor, the true example, of faith. He is the right One to keep our eyes fixed on.
Finally, remember that our Head, our Lord and Savior, endured the cross – thinking little or nothing of the shame – in order to obtain the joy that was set before Him. He now sits as the conqueror over sin and death, while His people enjoy the benefits that He has secured for them through His obedience and death. When we are commanded to fix our eyes on Him, we are also reminded of His obedience, His salvation, and His infinite and excellent Lordship as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is no one but Him who is our salvation, and there is no one but Him who sits as the final Finisher of faith. He sits (His work is finished) at the right hand (the powerful, righteous, and privileged hand) of God (indicating His rightful place as the Son of God).
How do we run well? Lay aside the encumbrances, throw off the sin, run with endurance, AND look to the perfect and conquering Lord Jesus. When our eyes are fixed on Him alone, we gain perfect vision for EVERY part of life; His example becomes our life and we are enabled to run the race for the glory of God.
Thank You, Father, for such a salvation! Thank You for such an example! And, thank You for carrying us through by Your Spirit and grace!