Chapter 11 of Hebrews is the “Great Hall of Faith.” It contains example after example after example of wonderful stories of faith from the Hebrew Scriptures. Due to space limitations, the stories themselves are not fully re-told. However, for the original audience (Christians who had been Jews initially), an allusion to an individual or a story was all that was needed. Given the various internal clues in the book, these Jewish Christians were on the verge of apostasy – of turning away from Christianity and returning to Judaism. In Chapter 11, the author makes the point that if all the people listed in chapter 11 could have faith (knowing as little as they did), how could they – the Jewish Christians to whom the book is directed – shrink back and not go forward in faith? If we read the rest of the book of Hebrews with chapter 11, which we need to do, we see that it is not so much the people themselves but the undergirding of a faithful God that enables these people to have faith and keep enduring.
My favorite verse in chapter 11 is verse 6 which reads, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Clearly, there is no substitute for faith.
In what are you putting your trust today? In what or in whom do you have faith?
Maybe we all need to pray the prayer that the father prayed in Mark 10:24, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”
Rev. Laurie Barnes is the Pastor of Prayer and Congregational Care.