Eyes Fixed – Week of August 15, 2022

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1b-2

In my time as a grade school teacher, we had a track meet each year for students in grades K-8. Runners, both little and big, enjoyed practicing for the meet, and grown-ups enjoyed cheering in the stands. Nothing brought more smiles to people’s faces, though, than the kindergarten 75m dash. Legs churning wildly, braids streaming in the wind, big grins…and feet that wound up all over the track. It was a common sight to see runners veer into the next lane or even further! The problem, of course, was that their eyes were fixed on their friends nearby or on their mom in the stands, rather than on the end goal.

In our text today, the writer to the Hebrews tells Christians where their eyes need to be fixed as they run their race toward heaven: firmly on Jesus. Why? Because unlike a grade school track meet, where the course is neatly marked, and the track has been cleared of any debris beforehand, our race looks a lot messier. As we begin the race, the track is already littered with the trash and chaos of a sinful world. Starting to run, our feet often wind up all over the track as our hearts chase after this or that and lose sight of the end goal. Added to that are the devil’s many attempts to make us swerve off course. In fact, the devil wants nothing more than to ensnare us in a sin so tightly that we leave the track altogether.

Thankfully, we’re not the first ones to have run this race. Because we could never make it through this race on our own, Jesus came and ran the race for us. The writer to the Hebrews calls Jesus “the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Jesus did exactly what we cannot do on our own. He faced every obstacle of the sinful world. He threw off every one of the devil’s traps with the power of God’s almighty Word, perfectly. And he didn’t do that only for himself. The whole time he was racing, Jesus had his eyes fixed on the joy set before him. That joy? It was getting to bring us to heaven to be with him someday. To accomplish that, not only did Jesus live a perfect life, he died on the cross in our place, so that all the times we have veered from the path would be forgiven. As nails were being driven into his hands and feet, Jesus had his eyes fixed on you, on me, so that someday we could run a race that would end up at his side.

Races between Kindergarteners are so much fun to watch. Races for Christians can be painful to observe and to experience. But we have one who has gone before us to not only pave the way, but who is our Way. With time spent in his Word, we can keep our eyes firmly focused on him, all the way to heaven.

Dear Jesus, just like a child, our eyes can so easily veer off of you as we run our race toward heaven. Thank you for never losing sight of your goal of saving us. Help us, in your grace, to keep our eyes focused on you each day. In your name we ask this, amen.

A Thought to Consider:
The idea of fixing our eyes on Jesus brings to mind our Savior’s words to Thomas shortly after Easter, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We can’t see Jesus physically, but in his Word, we get to see Jesus with the eyes of faith. Think about and plan some times throughout this week when you can open your Bible and see Jesus.

Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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