“Hebrews has concluded its galaxy of faith heroes. In Hebrews 12:1-3
the scene rapidly shifts to a Greco-Roman racetrack. Now instead of
witnessing the exploits of there forbearers in the faith, the readers of
Hebrews find themselves in the race of faith” (George R. Knight,
Exploring Hebrews: A Devotional Commentary, 223).
Goal #1—Draw strength from the Crowd.
• Hebrews 12:1—“Surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us run the race.”
• The Greek for “race” is agon, the technical term for the assembly
of the Greeks at their national games (Olympics).
• “Surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” describes
the roaring crowd in the stadium.
• Who are they? Hebrews 11
“Craig Koester points out that “the author invites hearers to envision
a stadium in which Abel, Enoch, and Noah crowd along the track
with Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Rahab, the judges, the prophets, and
the martyrs. The striking imagery is designed to transform the
listeners’ perception of their situation from one in which they are
beleaguered victims to one in which they are vigorous contestants
who can hope to participate in the festival gathering in God’s city
(12:22-24)” (Koester quoted in Knight, 223).
Goal #2—Strip away non-essentials.
• Hebrews 12:1—“Let us throw off everything that hinders.”
“Athletes carried nothing with them in a race. In a similar vein,
Hebrews admonishes Christians “to lay aside every weight.” That
phrase does not refer to sin, which the author will treat in the next
clause, but to anything that will hinder in putting forward one’s
best effort. Christians need to face up to the fact that some things,
while good in themselves, may absorb a person’s time and energies
that the individual loses focus on the real goal of life” (Knight, 224).
• We do not race against each other. Self is our great nemesis
and our only competitor.
Goal #3—Stay in your lane.
• Hebrews 12:1—“Let us run the race marked out for us.”
Goal #4—Don’t quit.
Goal #5—Endure the pain.
• Hebrews 12:1, 2—“Let us run with perseverance the race
marked out for us . . . [as Jesus] endured the cross.”
• Just as there is a winner in all of us, there is a quitter in all of us.
• The Greek word for “race”—agon—is the root for our
English word, “agony or agonize.”
“One does not reach the goal in a race by accident … Hebrews adds
that it takes “steadfast perseverance” (12:1). That phrase in the Greek
refers “to independent, unyielding, defiant perseverance in the face of
aggressive misfortune, and thus to a kind of courageousness”
(Balz and Schneider quoted in Knight, 224).
Goal #6 – Keep your eyes on your Trainer.
• Hebrews 12:2 NIV—“Fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
• Who better to train us than the One who made us?
“As Robert Jewett points out, he “is the ‘perfecter of faith,’ because
he experienced the same dilemmas of cosmic insecurity that the
[Christian] community now faces” (Jewett quoted in Knight, 225).
°Hebrews 3:1—“Fix your thoughts on Jesus.”
°Meditate on one story a day from the Gospels.
°Energize your life with a high calorie spiritual diet.
Goal #7—If you want to race to the finish, you must run with the
• Hebrews 12:2—“Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of