August 19, 2019
Scripture Hebrews 12:1-2
Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Hebrews 12:1c-2a NRSV
It is still a little odd to bring in “pioneer” as a word to describe Jesus, even after all these years of engagement with scripture and worship. Somehow, it seems a bit “off center.” After all, Daniel Boone and other explorers of the North American continent were admired as heroes for a very long time. But, the subjugation of Native Americans as part of the European expansion into and through the continent of North America remains a bitter story full of controversy including the abusive treatment of the native population, which itself bordered on genocide.
And yet, in the image of pioneer Jesus remains a bold entry into spiritual development, faith in God, and sustaining strength for mission and ministry. Without Jesus, those outside of Judaism, the Gentiles (you, very likely, and me, definitely) would remain at arm’s length with God and Jewish worship. But, Jesus came to be among us for the sake of us all. Some may claim Jesus to justify poor choices and outrageous behaviors, but our scripture tells us forthrightly that Jesus also serves to perfect our faith: That is, Jesus is here to focus our will and to center our efforts and our living.
Faith in God begins with Jesus. Going against our typical approach, the new burden Jesus brings to us is light and his yoke is easy (Matt. 11:28-30). This means that we are bound to new work and new duties as we grow in faith in God, led by Christ and sustained by God’s Spirit. How does Christ serve as pioneer and perfecter of faith for you, your faith, your living?
Where is Jesus in your new frontier in faith?