Continuing thoughts from yesterday's post, it is clear to me that without those guys in this running group, there’s no way I’d be dragging myself out of bed to run at 6:15am on a rainy Friday morning. But since I have that “cloud of witnesses,” I find that I am more easily able to “throw off everything that hinders” (warm sheets, for instance) “and run with perseverance the race…” Paul uses the cloud of witnesses as a point of motivation for us to run well and run faithfully.
The men of the running group were laughing one morning about a Starbucks commercial that we thought illustrates this point well. There is this guy Hank, who basically has his own cheering section – a cloud of witnesses, if you will – to cheer him on throughout his day. Obviously, Heb. 12:1 is not saying we live merely before the eyes of man, and Paul makes it clear that our ultimate Witness is Christ, and we are to set our eyes on Him as we run (Heb. 12:2). But Christ, in His love for us, ran a perfect race and laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16) for the glory of the Father.
I was thinking last night about Matt's comments to yesterday's post regarding this section of Hebrews. Although I think what I've said here is sound in the larger sense, I'll admit that my exegisis of this text has not been entirely accurate. I'll be working on that. Until then, let's consider - how much more faithful would we be in running our races if we really understood the importance of that “great cloud of witnesses” – and better understood both the role of the runner and the role of the witnesses as we strive to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us"?