Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Young Men, Consider Jesus

“…consider Jesus…” (Hebrews 3:1, ESV)
Consider him who endured…” (Hebrews 12:3, ESV)

Two different Greek words are rendered “consider” in these verses in Hebrews. The first carries the idea of the prolonged, concentrated gaze of the astronomer. The second means to reckon up, to compare, or to weigh. Taken together and in their context, these words are an exhortation to fix our minds consciously on Christ, comparing and weighting His sorrows and sufferings and testing with our own. What was the secret of His serenity? This contemplation of Christ is here presented as a panacea for our spiritual maladies.

It will cure our self-satisfaction. Do we compare ourselves favourably with others? Do we criticize their actions and attitudes? Criticism is always made from a position of superiority. But instead of comparing ourselves with others, we should be comparing ourselves with Him who did no sin. Self-satisfaction withers in the presence of the selfless Christ.

It will deliver us from self-pity. This is a spiritual disease to which we all are too prone. Too many are vocally sorry for themselves and feel that life has given them a raw deal. They feel misunderstood and neglected. “Consider him who endured” (12:3). Was He misunderstood, badly treated, unappreciated, misjudged? He knew what it was to be misjudged by His family. Compare with His, our trials are trivial.

It is the antidote for discouragement. “Consider him… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3, NIV). Aristotle used the word wearied to describe an athlete who throws himself down utterly exhausted after winning the race. Discouragement is one of Satan’s most debilitating weapons. If we withstand his other wiles, he will attack us here. “Consider him who endured.” He was despised, rejected, and maligned. His ministry was not conspicuously successful. His own intimates doubted, denied, forsook Him. Yet He endured. Consider Him, and take heart again.

It will prove a stimulant for lethargy (means a lack of energy and enthusiasm). “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:4, ESV). Have we grown lethargic in the battle against sin in our own lives and in the lives of others? Never for one moment did Christ relax in His warfare with Satan until He dismissed His Spirit on the cross.

It is a remedy for forgetfulness. “[Have] you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children?” (12:5). Have we forgotten the purpose of our Father’s chastening? Let us neither despise nor faint under it, but embrace it in the confidence that afterwards it will produce a rich harvest (see Hebrews 12:11).
[Edited, modified and modernized from Consider Him (1976) by J. Oswald Sanders]

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