“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
Here the writer of Hebrews does two things: he anticipates a problem with weary hearts, and prescribes the gospel cure. This verse assumes something believers know all too well; namely, that from time to time Christians can grow weary and become downcast. You are no exception. This is something the Christian should expect in a world of opposition. Especially when faced with prolonged difficulty or trials, even the strongest Christian can experience spiritual depression. The cure for this, the author of Hebrews says, is to consider Jesus and how He dealt with His own struggle with the world’s opposition.
This may sound similar to the exhortation in Hebrews 12:2 to “fix our eyes on Jesus,” but there is a difference in emphasis here in verse 3. In verse 2 the Greek word for “fixing our eyes” (aphoraō) meant to look away from one thing to another; the emphasis was to keep looking away from distractions and to fix our eyes on Jesus. Here in verse 3 the writer uses a different word, analogizomai, which means “to consider intently.” This is an accounting term related to the English word “logistics.” For example, when we speak of “logging” something in, we mean that a record should be kept of whatever just transpired. The point here is that we should meditate on, reflect on, and take stock of Jesus’ life and death as it relates to our struggle. And we should especially remember how God ordained Jesus’ suffering for His and our glory. We are to remember that beyond the cross there lies a crown. It was so for our Lord, and so it will be for us. Paul writes in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” That is the cure for our hearts when we grow weary in the long race of this life of faith.
How do we “consider” Jesus?
We consider Christ by consulting what the Bible says about Him. We read the Gospel accounts and learn what Jesus said and did and how God delivered Him. We read the Epistles, which explain the significance of His life, death, and resurrection. Indeed, in the Old Testament we see Christ in His work as He is prophesied and represented by various types and symbols.
Our Lord does exactly this for His weary disciples. In Luke 24, we learn of two downcast disciples walking away from Jerusalem on the very day that Jesus was resurrected. They were weary and had lost heart, but unbeknownst to them Jesus Himself rose from the grave and was walking alongside them on the road.
After joining their conversation, Jesus asked what these two disciples were talking about. At this point, Luke tells us “they stood still, looking sad” (Luke 24:17). This is exactly how Jesus finds us sometimes, discouraged and standing still instead of running the race. The two disciples told Jesus about a man from Nazareth they thought would be the Messiah. But, they added, He had been arrested and killed.
How did Jesus respond to their sorrow? He pointed them to Scripture. Luke 24:27,
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
What Jesus did for them, today we should do for ourselves: seek Him, find Him, and contemplate about His life and ministry in the pages of Scripture. And may we respond in a manner similar to these disciples:
“They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)
This is what we will find when our hearts have grown cold on the long and sometimes difficult race that is our calling as Christ’s disciples. We open the Scriptures and Jesus teaches us about Himself, no less than He did for those two disciples. And as we consider Him in His sufferings for us, His victory over sin and death, our hearts too are warmed, burning within us. This is what makes us rejoice as we should, singing words of confident faith:
My hope is in the Lord who gave himself for me,
And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.
For me he died, for me he lives,
And everlasting life and light he freely gives.1
If you want to live that way, with that kind of joy and power, then you must fix your eyes on Jesus, not on this world or anything in it. And as you gaze upon Christ’s beauty, consider how great a Savior He really is.
1 Norman J. Clayton 1945 Wordspring Music, LLC. All Rights reserved.