NT Connect: Hebrews 11:32-34
Weekly Reading: Judges 6-12
Heroes of Faith!?
It might be a challenge to look at those considered heroes of the faith in our readings this week and see them as just that. Faithful. Often, what we see from those who were judges, prophets and kings is a long list of faults and shortcomings including fear, doubt, hasty vows, lust, murder and adultery to name a few. Despite their failures, the Lord chose to use them in extraordinary ways and accomplished mighty acts through them. Why? Because he saw their faith. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”(NIV). Their faith was not measured on the things they did. Their faith was measured on whom they believed in. They believed God existed and they earnestly sought him (Hebrews 11:6). They trusted and believed in the Lord’s promises with lives of anticipation, hopeful for what was to come – their Messiah.
Living a life of faith is not always easy as we see in the remaining verses of Hebrews 11. These Old Testament heroes chose the hard life that faith often requires, and they suffered greatly for it through loss, pain, and persecution. Instead of backing down or quitting, they fixed their eyes on what they could not see. They never lost their vision of what was to come and remained faithful until their last breath. They did not look to themselves or their accomplishments but rather looked to the source of their faith.
We are called to do the same. Hebrews 12:2 instructs us to fix “our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (NIV). While the Old Testament heroes looked forward to the promise of Christ and salvation, we look back to the fulfillment of the promise, which we received through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can fix our eyes on Jesus, our ultimate example, because he perfected faith through successfully living by faith, even to the point of death on the cross. Christ endured suffering, shame, hostility and rejection. He was mocked and beaten beyond recognition. He gave his life and endured the full wrath of God on the cross for the sins of the world. He considered the life of faith worth it and looked ahead to the joy of accomplishing the will of his Father (Hebrews 12:2). He is the ultimate hero!
What Christ endured pales in comparison to anything we may face. He has not left us behind but has paved the way for us and is sitting at the right hand of God. He is cheering us on along with those Old Testament heroes, our great cloud of witnesses, to a life of faith. What a joy, honor and privilege that the Lord would choose to use us despite our feet of clay. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus and live our own lives in such a way that we also would be named heroes of faith.