by Jane Connell Young
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… ~Hebrews 12:1
Hebrews 11 lists many of the faithful who are commended for their faith. Hebrews 12 goes on to explain that because of that great cloud of witnesses, we may be emboldened to literally throw off the hindrance of sin that seeks to entangle us.
This great cloud of witnesses is specialized in that they have run their race and have remained faithful. The fact that they persevered successfully may help us to feel, “If they can do it, we can do it!”
What is the benefit of witnesses in our “faith race?”
Consider the importance of witnesses. We have all been required to have a Notary "witness" our signature. The Notary is a specialized witness. The Notary seal indicates that the Notary saw the particular person sign the document. If the Notary affixes her seal, we can depend upon the validity of the document.
A marriage certificate contains the signatures of witnesses to that event. A Last Will and Testament requires witnesses. A witness to an automobile accident saw the accident and therefore has special knowledge that others do not have.
In all of these situations, witnesses have special knowledge because they have seen an event. We can be more certain of what really happened, because we rely on the specialized knowledge of the witness.
Are we witnesses? We may be called to witness to others of our special knowledge that arises from our faith and experience as Christians. We know what we have seen. We know what we have felt or heard. That is only what is required sometimes… not presenting a sermon, nor teaching a class, but only witnessing to what we know to be true in our hearts. May God grant us the ears to listen for opportunities and the words to accurately and honestly reflect God's truth that we have seen….as it has been revealed to us. And may our witness help others to persevere successfully.