By Luke Johnson | January 1, 2013
Read Hebrews 11:1-40; 12:1-3
Have you ever climbed to the top of a mountain, or stood on the top floor of a building and looked across a city? What was that like? What could you see?
What did you think of the view from the highest point in Saskatchewan, at Cypress Hills?
Hebrews 11 is like climbing a mountain and getting to see things you can’t from the ground.
What’s the thing that connects everyone mentioned in Hebrews 11? What gives these people the right to be in this list? (Look at 11:1; faith)
What did these people do that was so great?
- Abel (v. 4)
- Enoch (v. 5)
- Noah (v. 7)
- Abraham (v. 8-12, 17)
- Isaac (v. 9, 20)
- Jacob (v. 9, 21)
- Joseph (v. 22)
- Moses (v. 23-28)
- The people of Israel who left Egypt (v. 29-30)
- Rahab the prostitute (v. 31)
- Gideon (v. 32)
- Barak (v. 32)
- Samson (v. 32)
- Jephthah (v. 32)
- David (v. 32)
- Samuel (v. 32)
- The Prophets (v. 32) (Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Zechariah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Micah, Amos, Joel, Nahum, Malachi)
- Unnamed Saints (v. 33-38)
Why are all of these people listed as people of faith? (Look at the last two verses: 39-40)
These saints lived out their whole lives trusting God for things he promised to do, and they kept on trusting right until they died -- and they died before they saw God’s promises come true. That’s hard to do!
Have you had to wait expectantly for something to happen in your life? How does it make you feel to sit and wait … and wait … and wait … and wait?
When you think about the rest of your life, are there things you are hoping for?
Are there things you are trusting God to do for you?
After talking about these Old Testament saints, the guy who wrote Hebrews jumps ahead to his own time. Who is the “mountain peak” or “climax” of this story? (Look at 12:2)
How does Jesus “perfect our faith”?
(He’s the one all those Old Testament saints were waiting for. He’s the answer to their prayers to God. He’s the fulfillment of God’s promises in the OT. God’s promises aren’t finished yet, but because Jesus has come to help us, we know they will be.)
After ‘climbing the mountain’ and looking back at history, sitting on Jesus’ shoulders, the guy who wrote Hebrews does something really cool. Do you know what it is?
He invites us to live within the same story for ourselves. This story is our story.
Abraham and Sarah’s story is our story. David’s story is our story. Abel’s story is our story. These people are like our great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfathers and grandmothers. Because they also put their hope in Jesus (even though they didn’t know his name yet), they’re actually our brothers and sisters.
There is something much cooler that just being ‘related’ to these people. What do you think it is?
Listen to the end of the Apostles Creed, and see if you hear it:
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of the saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Which one of these statements do you think the guy who wrote Hebrews is talking about?
(communion of the saints)
What does “the communion of the saints” mean?
It means we’re united to everyone who has followed God and Jesus in the past, present, and future. It means we’re still united to God’s worshippers who lived in the past, even though they’re dead.
We’re the players on the football field, and all those who have come before us are watching and cheering us on. We’re truly not alone as we try to follow Jesus. We have each other in this youth group; we have each other in our churches; and we’re connected to everyone who has followed Jesus in the past.
This is what the “great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews 12:1 is all about.