Key Verse: “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.”
IN VERSE ONE OF OUR LESSON, we are instructed to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” Some of these “weights” we must lay aside are the “cares and riches and pleasures of this life.” (Luke 8:14) Such things are not necessarily sinful, but they occupy our time and effort, and may crowd out our development of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Continuing in our opening verse, Paul says we must not only strive to lay aside any such “weights” of this life, but also “run with patience”—which means cheerful endurance and perseverance—“the race that is set before us.”
We are only able to do these things, our Key Verse states, by “looking unto Jesus.” Jesus is the “author,” meaning chief leader or captain, of our faith, because he willingly gave his life as a ransom for all mankind. Because of his ransom sacrifice, “a new and living way” has been opened during the Gospel Age, and “we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Heb. 10:19,20; Col. 1:14) The “author” of our faith is “the firstborn among many brethren.” He is “the head of the body, the church, … the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”—Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18
Jesus is also “the finisher of our faith” The word “finisher” denotes completer. Jesus acts in this important role in the sense that he helps us in our trials and difficult experiences. During his earthly ministry, he said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” (Matt. 11:28,29) “Looking unto Jesus,” we see that he meekly and humbly gave up his own will to do that of the Heavenly Father, and he will assist us in completing the same task.
Paul counsels us to “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who … made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and … humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:5-8) Through the great example of our Master, we thus see how important it is to develop humility.
Our Key Verse says that because of the great “joy that was set before him,” it was a delight for Jesus to always do the will of his Heavenly Father. This attitude was prophesied of him by the psalmist: “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8) As his footstep followers, we too should develop a “delight” to do our Heavenly Father’s will, enduring our “cross, disregarding the shame.”—Heb. 12:2, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott
“Looking unto Jesus,” we must pass through similar experiences as he did. Thus, like Paul, we have the prospect of being “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom. 8:17) Let us, then, “consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”—Heb. 12:3