Hebrews 12:3 | Hana Mower
“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
While looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, we consider His afflictions. We are called to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (v1) and in verse 2 it says Christ “endured” the cross, and now in verse 3 He “endured” hostility against Himself. We consider Christ’s afflictions because He endured in obedience this life to the death, even death on a cross. We should anticipate tribulations because He has warned us they will come. Christ’s endurance should energize our motivation for running the race, we are to imitate His humble endurance.
“who endured from sinners”, “sinners” refers to unbelievers because they were hostile against Christ, this term is also used in the context of unbelievers in Luke 6:33 (also cf. Romans 8:7, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”). I will note that endurance here is not attributed to solely persecution from sinners but has a broader context of all kinds of hardships and struggles since verse one tells us to lay aside every weight and sin which clings to closely, the writer has just chosen one example here. (Also a cf. James 1:2-3, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”)
Christ endured hostility against himself. There are countless verses that mention this, but I will only present one for the time being.
Jesus Is Mocked
16 “And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.” -Mark 15:16-20
Consider Him who was reviled, slandered, disrespected, shamed, beaten, and condemned to die. This is just pre-crucifixion, not even mentioning the horrors involved with that. We look to Jesus who endured on behalf of us so we will not grow weary or fainthearted. We should find comfort that He who endured all this has overcome the world and if we are children of God the powerful Spirit of God indwells in us to provide strength amidst hardships, the same Spirit that rose the God-Man from the grave. If the Holy Spirit can restore life back to a dead corpse, He can surely help us in our time of need. Whether that be reviving us, restoring the joy of our salvation, or endurance; God knows our hearts and what we need before we ask because the Spirit intercedes on our behalf but never forget sometimes we do not have because we do not ask (James 4:2).
Our Savior died a criminal’s execution because of the hostility from sinners. Yet we are not ashamed of Christ’s shameful death because the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
I leave you with a quote by H.A. Ironside from his commentary on this verse:
“In the hour of discouragement when one feels inclined to cry with Jacob, “All these things are against me,” lift up your eyes, tempted one, and look upon Him who knew such grief as you shall never know, and yet who sits as Victor now in highest glory. Let Him be your heart’s Object. Let Him be your soul’s delight, and lifted above the cares and griefs of the present moment, you will be enabled to run unweariedly and without fainting, your appointed race.”