June 17, 2009
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV
We’re a people who love to celebrate each other—especially those we consider “heroes.”
Just look around you, ‘cause you probably don’t live too far away from some sort of Hall of Fame. There’s the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn. Further north in Boston, Mass, you’ll find The Robot Hall of Fame. The Snowmobile Hall of Fame is located in St. Germain, Wis., and then The National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame has its home in Bonner Springs, Kans.
Now, granted, we can’t honor or remember every “hero” who ever walked Planet Earth. But you’ll probably agree that there is one group of heroes that believers in Christ should certainly celebrate: heroes of the faith.
Starting in God’s Word, we know that Jesus is our ultimate hero. He is the “author” and “perfecter” of our faith. All thirty-three years of his earthly ministry give us a wonderful example of how to live, and we share in the joy of his place on an eternal throne.
There are also a great number of individuals who came before Christ and are cited for their examples in the “hall of faith” passage in Hebrews, chapter 11: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab and others.
These Old Testament heroes did not live to experience the resurrection and the life of Christ. But they kept their focus on God and His promises to them. Heroes who lived since the fulfillment of the Messiah have contributed significantly to the church and the cause of Christ.
Each one of us has known a hero of the faith, whether in our families, at our churches in our schools or in our communities. Today, All Saints Day, is set apart as a time to remember these heroes and consider how their lives contributed to the cause of Christ. It is an important holiday in the Christian year that we would all do well in celebrating.
The first general observance was ordered by Pope Gregory IV in 837. After the Reformation, Protestant churches celebrated All Saints Day by interpreting the New Testament usage of “saints” as all believers and celebrated unity of the entire Church on this day.
Will you take time to remember these saints and heroes of the faith and learn from their examples today?
Intersecting Faith & Life: Think of the departed saints and those who have been meaningful to you: family members, teachers, leaders, mentors, pastors, biblical characters or others. Share with someone about a “hero of the faith” and how he or she has made an impact in your life.