MONDAY, MAY 28
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,”
Hebrews 12:1 ESV
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN: REMEMBERING
The film Saving Private Ryan concludes with Ryan, now an aged veteran, surveying a Normandy war cemetery, surrounded by unending lines of gravestones of soldiers who paid the ultimate price. As Ryan views the stones, he remembers the six men who gave their lives to save his. He falls to the ground at the foot of a memorial cross in tears and wonders if he has earned this sacrifice. He turns to his wife and crying he ask her, “Tell me I’ve lived a good life!” “Tell me I’m a good man!”
On Memorial Day, we remember all those who have given their life in military service to our country in an effort to protect our freedom and what is good in the world. The author of Hebrews 12, challenges us to remember the “witnesses” or heroes of the faith, in Hebrews 11, who have already died. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith but the remainder of the Hebrews 11 demonstrates faith. Based on this pattern, the writer is saying in essence “Faith in God is to be demonstrated, not defined.” (Tozer) Therefore because of the successful examples of faith in action in Hebrews 11, we are not just to walk by faith, but to run by faith.
We should imitate those who imitate Christ. Pastor Steven Cole writes, “I would encourage you to study both the many interesting characters in the Bible and the great men and women who have run the race of faith over the course of church history. You’ll learn how they failed, so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes. And you’ll learn how they ran well, so that you can imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:7).”
Who is your favorite Bible character? What is one thing you can learn today from their failures and one thing you can learn from their successes?