Hebrews 11:32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets-- 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented-- 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.
Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus-followers have very big shoes to fill: we walk in the shadow of people who have been persecuted for their faith, suffering “mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.” These men and women became the martyrs who are “a great cloud of witnesses” encouraging us all in our Christian life.
There is no avoiding the fact that being a follower of Jesus is hard. This requires perseverance, commitment, and a willingness to keep our Christian focus. The joy of our faith is that we do not do this alone. We are accompanied by Jesus, who himself endured shame and disgrace. But we are resurrection people – who “run with perseverance the race that is set before us”.
Ordinary 32 / Pentecost +25
54 A Resurrection People
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 329.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.