Hebrews 12:2 - Looking Unto Jesus.
Hebrews 12:2 - Looking Unto Jesus.
Hebrews 12:2 (KJV) 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.
Only Three Words, But In Those Three Words Is The Whole Secret
Looking unto Jesus in the Scriptures to learn who He is,
what He has done, what He gives, what He desires; to find in His
character our pattern, in His teachings our instruction, in His precepts
our law, in His promises our support, in His Person and in His work
the full satisfaction for every need of our souls.
Looking unto Jesus crucified to find in His shed blood our
ransom, our pardon, our peace.
Looking unto Jesus risen to find in Him the righteousness
which alone makes us righteous and permits us, unworthy as we are, to
boldly draw near in Jesus' name to Him who is our Father and our God.
Looking unto Jesus glorified to find in Him our heavenly
advocate, who, because of His perfect sacrifice for sin, can and does
intercede for us (I John 2:1). He is even now appearing for us before the
face of God (Heb. 9:24) as the kingly Priest and the spotless victim
to continually represent us before the Heavenly Father.
Looking unto Jesus revealed by the Holy Spirit to find in
constant communion with Him the cleansing of our sin-stained hearts, the
illumination of our darkened spirits, the transformation of our rebellious
wills. We are enabled by Him to triumph over all the attacks of the
world and of the Evil One, resisting their violence through Jesus, our
strength, and overcoming their subtlety by Jesus, our wisdom. We are
upheld by the sympathy of Jesus, who was spared no temptation, and by
the help of Jesus, who yielded to no temptation.
Looking unto Jesus who gives repentance as well as
forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31). He gives us the grace to recognize, to
deplore, to confess and to forsake our transgressions.
Looking unto Jesus to receive from Him the task for each
day, along with sufficient grace to accomplish the task. This grace
enables us to be patient with His patience, active with His activity,
loving with His love; never asking "What am I able to do?" but rather
"What is He not able to do?" We can then wait for His strength, which
is made perfect in our weakness (II Cor. 12:9).
Looking unto Jesus to go forth from ourselves and to
forget ourselves so that our darkness may flee before the brightness of
His face, so that our joy may be holy and our sorrow restrained, so
that He may cast us down and raise us up, so that He may afflict us
and comfort us, so that He may despoil us and enrich us, so that He
may teach us to pray and answer our prayers, so that while leaving
us in the world, He may separate us from it. Our lives will be
hidden with Him in God, and our behavior will bear witness to Him
Looking unto Jesus, who, having returned to the Father, is
preparing a place for us. This joyful prospect should make us live in hope
and prepare us for death, the last enemy, whom He has overcome for
us, whom we shall overcome through Him. What was once the king of
terrors is today the harbinger of eternal happiness.
Looking unto Jesus, whose certain return, at an uncertain
time, is from age to age the expectation and the hope of the faithful
Church, who is encouraged in patience, watchfulness and joy by the
thought that the Saviour is at hand (Phil. 4:4,5; I Thess. 5:23).
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith"
(Heb. 12:2). He is faith's pattern and its source, even as He is its
object. From the first step to the last He marches at the head of the
believers so that by Him our faith may be inspired, encouraged, sustained
and led on to its supreme consummation.
Looking unto Jesus and at nothing else. Hebrews 12:2
expresses it in the Greek word aphorao, which means to direct our gaze on
Him and to turn it away from everything else.
Looking unto Jesus and not at ourselves, our thoughts, our
reasonings, our imaginings, our inclinations, our wishes, our plans.
Looking unto Jesus and not at the world, its customs, its
example, its rules, its judgments.
Looking unto Jesus and not at Satan, though he seek to
terrify us by his fury or to entice us by his flatteries. We would save
ourselves from many useless questions, from many disturbing scruples, from
much loss of time, from dangerous dallyings with evil, from waste of
energy, from empty dreams, from bitter disappointments, from sorrowful
struggles and from distressing falls by looking steadily unto Jesus and by
following Him wherever He may lead us. Then we would be too occupied with
keeping sight of the path which He marks out for us to waste even a
glance on those paths in which He does not think it suitable to lead
Looking unto Jesus and not at our creeds, no matter how
evangelical they may be. The faith which saves, which sanctifies and which
comforts is not giving assent to the doctrine of salvation; it is being
united to the Person of the Saviour. "It is not enough," said Adolphe
Monod, "to know about Jesus Christ; it is necessary to have Jesus
Christ." No one truly knows Him if he does not first possess Him.
According to the profound statement of the beloved disciple, in the life
there is light, and in Jesus there is life (John 1:4).
Looking unto Jesus and not at our meditations, our
prayers, our pious conversations, our prod table reading, the meetings
that we attend or even our participation in the Lord's Supper. Let us
faithfully continue all these but without turning our gaze away from Him
who alone makes them effective when, through them, He reveals
Himself to us.
Looking unto Jesus and not to our position in the church,
to the family to which we belong, to our baptism, to the education
which we have received, to the doctrine which we profess, to the
opinion which others have formed of our piety or to the opinion which we
have formed of it ourselves. Some of those who have prophesied in the
name of the Lord Jesus will one day hear Him say, "I never knew you"
(Matt. 7:23). But He will confess before His Father and before His
angels even the most humble of those who have looked unto Him.
Looking unto Jesus and not to our brethren, not even to
the best and the most beloved among them. In following a man we run
the risk of losing our way; in following Jesus we are sure of never
losing our way. Besides, when we put a man between Jesus and ourselves,
the man will increase and Jesus will decrease; soon we will no
longer know how to find Jesus. Then when we cannot find the man or if
he fails us, all fails. On the contrary, if Jesus is kept between
us and our closest friend, our attachment to the person will be at
the same time less enthralling and more deep, less passionate and
more tender, less necessary and more useful. He will be an instrument
of rich blessing in the hands of God when He is pleased to make use
of him, and his absence will be a further blessing when it may
please God to dispense with him in order to draw us even nearer to the
only Friend who can be separated from us by "neither death, nor life"
Looking unto Jesus and not at His enemies or at our
enemies. Instead of hating them and fearing them, we shall know how to
love them and to overcome them.
Looking unto Jesus and not at the obstacles which meet us
in our path. As soon as we stop to consider them, they amaze us,
confuse us and overwhelm us because we are incapable of understanding
either the reason why they are permitted or the means by which we may
overcome them. The Apostle Peter began to sink as soon as he turned to
look at the waves tossed by the storm; it was while he was looking at
Jesus that he walked on the waters as on a rock (see Matt. 14:22-36).
The more difficult our task, the more terrifying our temptations,
the more essential it is that we look only at Jesus.
Looking unto Jesus and not at our troubles, to count them,
to weigh them, to find perhaps a certain strange satisfaction in
tasting their bitterness. Apart from Jesus trouble does not sanctify--it
hardens or crushes. It produces not patience, but rebellion; not
sympathy, but selfishness; not hope (Rom. 5:3-5), but despair. Only under
the shadow of the cross can we appreciate the true weight of our own
troubles and accept them each day from His hand with love, with gratitude
and with joy. Only then can we find for ourselves and for others a
source of blessing.
Looking unto Jesus and not at the dearest, most legitimate
of our earthly joys, lest we be so engrossed in them that they
deprive us of the sight of the very One who gives them to us. If we are
looking at Him first of all, then it is from Him that we receive these
good things, made a thousand times more precious because we possess
them as gifts from His loving hand. We entrust these gifts to His
keeping, enjoy them in communion with Him and use them for His glory.
Looking unto Jesus and not at the instruments, whatever
they may be, which He employs to form the path He has appointed for
us. Looking beyond people, beyond circumstances, beyond the thousand
secondary causes, let us ascend to the first cause--His will. Let us ascend
even to the source of His will--His love. Then our gratitude, without
being lessened toward those who do good to us, will not stop at them.
In the day of testing, under the most unexpected, the most
inexplicable, the most overwhelming blow, we can say with the psalmist, "I was
dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it" (Ps. 39:9). And in
our silence the heavenly voice will gently reply, "What I do thou
knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter" (John 13:7).
Looking unto Jesus and not at the interests of our cause,
of our party, of our church, and still less at our personal
interests. The single object of our life is the glory of God; if we do not
make it the supreme goal of our efforts, we deprive ourselves of His
help, for His grace is only at the service of His glory. If, on the
contrary, it is His glory that we seek above all, we can always count on
Looking unto Jesus and not at the sincerity of our
intentions and at the strength of our resolutions. How often the most
excellent intentions have only prepared the way for the most humiliating
falls. Let us stand not on our intentions, but on His love; not on our
resolutions, but on His promise.
Looking unto Jesus and not at our strength. Our strength
is good only to glorify ourselves; to glorify God one must have the
strength of God.
Looking unto Jesus and not at our weakness. By lamenting
our weakness have we ever become stronger? Let us look to Jesus, and
His strength will communicate itself to our hearts, and His praise
will break forth from our lips.
Looking unto Jesus and not at our sins, not at the source
from which they come (Matt. 15:19) nor at the chastisement which they
deserve. Let us look at ourselves only to recognize how much we need to
look to Him. Let us look to Him, not as if we were sinless, but
because we are sinners, measuring the very greatness of the offence by
the greatness of the sacrifice which has atoned for it and of the
grace which pardons it. "For one look that we turn on ourselves," said
an eminent servant of God (McCheyne), "let us turn ten upon Jesus."
"If it is very sure," said Vinet, "that one will not lose sight of
his wretched state by looking at Jesus Christ crucified-- because
this wretched state is, as it were, graven upon the cross--it is also
very sure that in looking at one's wretchedness one can lose sight of
Jesus Christ; because the cross is not naturally graven upon the image
of one's wretchedness." And he added "Look at yourselves, but only
in the presence of the cross, only through Jesus Christ." Looking
at your sin only gives death; looking at Jesus gives life. That
which healed the Israelite in the wilderness was not his considering
of his wounds but his looking to the serpent of brass (Num.
Looking unto Jesus and not at our pretense of
righteousness. Most ill of all who are ill is the person who believes himself
to be healthy; blindest of all the blind is he who thinks that he
sees (John 9:41). If it is dangerous to look long at our
wretchedness, which is all too real, it is much more dangerous to rest
complacently on imaginary merits.
Looking unto Jesus and not at the Law. The Law gives
commands but gives no strength to carry them out. The Law always condemns
and never pardons. If we put ourselves back under the Law, we take
ourselves away from grace. Insofar as we make our obedience the means of
our salvation, we lose our peace, our joy, our strength, for we have
forgotten that Jesus "is the end of the law for righteousness to every one
that believeth" (Rom. 10:4). As soon as the Law has constrained us to
seek Him as our only Saviour, then to Him alone belongs the right to
command our obedience, an obedience which includes nothing less than our
whole heart and our most secret thoughts. Such whole-hearted obedience
will not be an iron yoke and an insupportable burden but an easy yoke
and a light burden (Matt. 11:28-30). It is an obedience which He
makes as delightful as it is binding, an obedience which He inspires
as well as requires.
Looking unto Jesus and not at what we are doing for Him.
Too much occupied with our work, we can forget our Master. It is
possible to have full hands and an empty heart. When occupied with our
Master, we cannot forget our work. If the heart is filled with His love,
how can the hands fail to be active in His service?
Looking unto Jesus and not to the apparent success of our
efforts. The apparent success is not the measure of the real success; and
besides, God has not told us to succeed, only to work. It is of our work
and not of our success that He requires an account. Why then concern
ourselves with success? It is for us to scatter the seed, for God to
gather the fruit--if not today, then tomorrow. If He does not employ us
to gather it, then He will employ others. Even when success is
granted to us, it is always dangerous to fix our attention on it. On the
one hand we are tempted to take some of the credit; on the other
hand we may lessen our zeal--just when we should redouble our energy.
To look at the success is to walk by sight; to look at Jesus and to
persevere in following Him and serving Him, in spite of all
discouragements, is to walk by faith.
Looking unto Jesus and not to the spiritual blessings
which we have already received or which we are now receiving from Him.
As to yesterday's grace, it has passed with yesterday's work. We
can no longer make use of it; we should no longer linger over it. As
to today's grace given for today's work, it is entrusted to us, not
to be looked at but to be used. We are not to gloat over it as a
treasure, counting up our riches, but to spend it immediately and remain
Looking unto Jesus and not at the amount of sorrow that
our sins cause or at the amount of humiliation which they produce in
us. If we are humiliated by them enough to no longer be complacent
with ourselves, if we are troubled by them enough to make us look to
Jesus so that He may deliver us from them, that is all He asks from
us. And it is also this look which, more than anything else, will
make our tears spring and our pride fall. And when we, like Peter,
weep bitterly (Luke 22:62), then may our tear dimmed eyes remain more
than ever on Jesus. For even our repentance will become a snare to us
if we blot out in some measure by our tears those sins which
nothing can blot out except the blood of the Lamb of God.
Looking unto Jesus and not at the brightness of our joy,
the strength of our assurance or the warmth of our love. As the
result of our own unfaithfulness or because of the trial of our faith,
our love may seem to grow cold, our assurance may vanish, our joy
may fail us. Having lost our feelings, we think that we have lost
our strength, and we allow ourselves to fall into an abyss of
sorrow, cowardly idleness or sinful complaints. Rather let us remember
that if the feelings, with their sweetness, are absent, the faith,
with its strength, remains with us. To be able always to be
"abounding in the work of the Lord" (I Cor. 15:58) let us look steadily,
not at our ever-changing hearts, but at Jesus, who is always the
Looking unto Jesus and not at the heights of holiness
which we have attained. If one may not believe himself to be a child
of God as long as he finds stains in his heart and stumblings in
his life, who could taste the joy of salvation? But this joy is not
bought with a price. Holiness is the fruit, not the root, of our
redemption. It is the work of Jesus Christ for us which reconciles us unto
God; it is the work of the Holy Spirit in us which renews us in His
likeness. The shortcomings of a faith which is true but not yet fully
established and bearing little fruit in no way lessens the fullness of the
perfect work of the Saviour nor the certainty of His unchanging promise,
guaranteeing life eternal to every person who trusts in Him. And so to rest
in the Redeemer is the true way to obey Him. And it is only when
enjoying the peace of forgiveness that the soul is strong for the
conflict. If any abuse this blessed truth by giving themselves over
unscrupulously to spiritual idleness, imagining that they can let the faith
which they think they have take the place of the holiness which they
have not, they should remember this solemn warning of the Apostle
Paul: "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the
affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24). The Apostle John warned, "He that saith,
I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the
truth is not in him" (I John 2:4). The Lord Jesus Himself said, "Every
tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into
the f re" (Matt. 7:19).
Looking unto Jesus and not at our defeats or our
victories. If we look at our defeats, we shall be cast down; if we look at
our victories, we shall be puffed up. And neither will help us to
fight the good fight of faith (I Tim. 6:12). Like all our blessings,
the victory, with the faith which wins it, is the gift of God
through our Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:57), and all the glory belongs
Looking unto Jesus and not at our doubts. The more we look
at them, the larger they appear. They can swallow up all our faith,
our strength and our joy. But if we look away from them to our Lord
Jesus, who is the truth (John 14:6), the doubts will scatter in the
light of His presence like clouds before the sun.
Looking unto Jesus and not at our faith. The last device
of the adversary, when he cannot make us look elsewhere, is to turn
our eyes from our Saviour to our faith, thus discouraging us if it
is weak and filling us with pride if it is strong. Either way, his
purpose is to weaken us, for power does not come from the faith but from
the Saviour by faith. It is not looking at our faith, it is "looking
unto Jesus" (Heb. 12:2).
Looking unto Jesus, for it is from Him and in Him that we
learn to know, not only without danger but also for the well-being of
our souls, what it is good for us to know about the world and about
ourselves, our sorrows, our dangers, our resources and our victories. When
we look to Him, we will see everything in its true light, because
it is He who shows us what we need to know at the time and in the
proportion in which this knowledge will produce in us the fruits of
humility and wisdom, gratitude and courage, watchfulness and prayer. All
that it is desirable for us to know the Lord Jesus will teach us; all
that we do not learn from Him it is better for us not to know.
Looking unto Jesus as long as we remain on the earth. We
must look unto Jesus from moment to moment, without allowing
ourselves to be distracted by memories of a past which we should leave
behind us nor by an occupation with a future of which we know nothing.
Looking unto Jesus now, if we have never looked unto Him.
Looking unto Jesus afresh, if we have ceased doing so.
Looking unto Jesus only.
Looking unto Jesus still.
Looking unto Jesus always with a gaze more and more
constant, more and more confident, "changed into the same image from glory
to glory" (II Cor. 3:18). Thus, we await the hour when He will call
us to pass from earth to heaven and from time to eternity, the
promised hour, the blessed hour when at last "we shall be like him; for
we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2).
SOURCE: Classic Writing by Theodore Monad Translated from French
by Helen Willis
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