Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
“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 . . .” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Jesus is the author of salvation. The Greek word used here “primarily signifies one who takes a lead in, or provides the first occasion of, anything” (Vine). Some suggest pioneer or trail-blazer is the idea. Jesus opens the way to God because He is the way (Hebrews 10:19-20; John 14:6).
Jesus is also the perfecter of faith. In Him faith found its perfect expression. He completed the faith by carrying out God’s plan, and He is also able to bring our faith to its complete end.
As we run our race we should rightly be able to look to each other for instructive and encouraging examples. While elders (1 Peter 5:3) and preachers (1 Timothy 4:12) are especially charged with leading by example, every disciple ought to be able to say with Paul, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Even the best disciples, however, have their flaws. Never make the mistake of judging the greatness or power or value of Jesus by the weakness of His followers. Fix your eyes on Jesus!
While Jesus, Peter, James, and John were away on a mountain to pray, a man brought his demon-possessed boy to the other apostles to be healed (Mark 9:14-29). The demon was causing seizures and self-destructive behavior. Despite having cast out demons previously (see 6:13), this time the apostles failed. The father was crushed. When Jesus arrived, the father explained the situation to Him and pled, “But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” (v. 22). Due to the disciples’ failure, this man who had come in faith was now not so sure.
Jesus picked up on his “if You can.” “And Jesus said to him, ‘If you can?’ All things are possible to him who believes” (v. 23). The humble, honest, struggling father immediately responded, “I do believe; help my unbelief” (v. 24).
Jesus cast out the demon. The boy was cured at once. The Lord explained to the apostles that they had failed due to lack of faith (Matthew 17:20). He urged them to pray more (Mark 9:29). And everyone involved learned the valuable lesson, “fix your eyes on Jesus.”