“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, AV)
When I ran the half-marathon, everything was going well until I hit the 12-mile mark. At that time, I hit the wall. Hitting the wall is a term that runners use to describe a problem when you just run out of energy. I had plenty of wind. My breathing was fine. What happened was that my legs just got weak and I started to get cramps in my feet. I slowed down, ate some energy gels, drank some water, and shortly regained strength. However, the cramps in my feet would just not stop.
I could see the finish line, just a mile ahead and decided that the only way to finish was to run through the cramping. This I did and the cramps in my toes just stopped and I finished the race. What made the difference? I could see and kept my eyes on the finish line. I needed to reach the goal and it motivated me to run through the pain.
The author here in speaking of running the Christian race tells us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. The verb “Looking,” aphorao,means to consider attentively. It is derived from two words, apo which has the idea of separation and horao which means to stare at. We are to separate our focus from other things and intently focus them on Jesus. “Looking,” being in the present tense means to keep on looking. In other words, never lose you focus. If you stop focusing on the goal, you will likely stop running the race.
We are to focus on Jesus because He is the author or beginner of our faith and the teleiotes, the finisher or completer of our faith. He is the one who makes it possible for us to complete the race. So, to finish this race, we must keep from being distracted by the things around us and stay focused on Jesus.
When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we keep our eyes on the goal. It is He who strengthens us to finish the course, to cross the finish line. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus the one who began the great work in us and the one who will also bring it to completion.