International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday October 30, 2016
Purpose: To affirm ways that God in Jesus Christ is with us in our journey of faith
Bible Lesson: Hebrews 12:1-13
Key Verses: Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Hebrews 12:1-13 (CEB)
(1) So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, (2) and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne. (3) Think about the one who endured such opposition from sinners so that you won’t be discouraged and you won’t give up. (4) In your struggle against sin, you haven’t resisted yet to the point of shedding blood, (5) and you have forgotten the encouragement that addresses you as sons and daughters: My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline or give up when you are corrected by him, (6) because the Lord disciplines whomever he loves, and he punishes every son or daughter whom he accepts. (7) Bear hardship for the sake of discipline. God is treating you like sons and daughters! What child isn’t disciplined by his or her father? (8) But if you don’t experience discipline, which happens to all children, then you are illegitimate and not real sons and daughters. (9) What’s more, we had human parents who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live? (10) Our human parents disciplined us for a little while, as it seemed best to them, but God does it for our benefit so that we can share his holiness. (11) No discipline is fun while it lasts, but it seems painful at the time. Later, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.
(12) So strengthen your drooping hands and weak knees! (13) Make straight paths for your feet so that if any part is lame, it will be healed rather than injured more seriously.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This is our fifth and final lesson from Hebrews for this quarter. This week instead of looking at Jesus as our great high priest, we are looking at the example he lived for us.
As we stated last week, it is important that we understand the recipients of this letter had no New Testament to read, so this letter was an important letter to them in how they should live. Most believe the letter was written to Jews that had accepted Christ as the Messiah and were living in Rome, where persecution was about to be amped up. Up to this point there had not been a lot of Christian martyrs, James, the brother of John, and Stephen were the most famous of early Christian martyrs. But Nero was just around the corner.
The writer of Hebrews wanted those that had chosen to follow the teachings of Jesus, to know what could be in store for them. The writer also painted a picture for them of how earthly parents discipline and trained their children. The writer also points out that God acts in much the same way. Today we say, “whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” the writer was a little subtler.
The author compares the “race” or “just living our life” with growing up in a family and many things that we think as children as cruel or harsh we later learn was our parent’s way of preparing us to live a life outside of their protection. The writer also points out the importance of training, the training prepares us for the real thing. Like our earthly parents, our heavenly Father not only disciplines us, but He also encourages us to do our best, and to live a life that allows us to be called a child of God. We were never promised that we would escape all the hazards of life, we were only promised that we would never go through it alone.
My hymn for this week is “Take your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There.”