The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Hebrews 12:1
“1) 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,” Hebrews‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭
The writer opens chapter twelve with a profound observation. The great cloud of witnesses surrounding us is almost a picture of a Roman coliseum. The crowd packing the stands are all the great hero’s of faith who have gone before us. We are on the playing field of life and their stories are there to cheer us on.
Like those in Hebrews chapter eleven, the odds seem stacked against us. When we grow tired or faint, they cry out; “We did it and so can you!” Then they chant; “Fix your eyes on Jesus!” Suddenly, as if getting a second wind, we are filled with renewed grace and faith. We have a surge of inner power that goes beyond ourselves coming from the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is the moment the ordinary becomes the extraordinary. God steps in and takes over.
Let me emphasize that from our point in history, the great cloud of witness has grown immensely larger. In attendance are not only the overcomes from the Old Testament, they are also now joined by a great company which cannot be numbered from 2,000 years of New Testament church history. As Revelation 7:9 says:
“9) After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10) and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.””
This picture of a stadium is more figurative than literal, but their stories and testimonies are real and abundant. They inspire me! No matter what I am going through in life, I realize that others have been there and by the grace of God they have overcome!
The one thing they all had in common was laying aside every sin and encumbrance. They turned their back on those things that cause double mindedness. They got rid of their spiritual and emotional baggage. They stopped trying to embrace heaven with one arm and the world with the other. They set aside the things that so easily entangle and trip people.
They were ridiculed and mocked by the world, but the were cheered and celebrated in heaven. You cannot please God and the world at the same time. If you want to walk with God you must let go of your desire to be acclaimed by the world. You need to adopt a heavenly value system and fix your eyes on Jesus Christ.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global