Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Tomorrow evening the College Football Playoff National Championship will take place in Glendale, Arizona. Clemson and Alabama will play for all the proverbial “marbles.” Actually, besides the bragging rights, they will be playing for a 35 pound trophy sponsored by Dr. Pepper who paid $35 million for the privilege. Close to 80,000 are expected in the stadium; 30 to 40 million more will watch on TV. Win or lose, each school has already received millions of dollars for their athletic and scholarship programs. Are you getting the picture? This is a big deal!
For just a moment, imagine what it will be like for those young men from Alabama and Clemson as they gather in the tunnel and run out on to the field to the roar of their fans, the music of their band, the cheers of their cheerleaders, to say nothing of the smoke and fireworks. Exciting, thrilling, overwhelming, breathtaking, electrifying, sensational . . . I’ll let you choose the adjective that applies. It will be an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Now, consider this. Hebrews says that every day, when we run out onto the field of life, we have a cloud of witnesses cheering us on.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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 GodHebrews 12:1-2
Who are these folks? Check Hebrews 11– Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets with the rest of the list too long to mention. This great cloud of witnesses, who have already finished the race, look down on us, cheering us on. 
And Jesus stands there at the finish line, ready to receive us. “Fix your eyes on Jesus” the writer of Hebrews tells us. Run with endurance. Don’t give up; don’t give in.  
And finally, run with great confidence. As I write this no one knows who will win, Alabama or Clemson. But in the race of life, when you run with Jesus, you are on the winning team. Victory is assured!
Grace and peace,

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