Fixing the Eyes Upon Jesus
It is well known that the words, “Looking unto Jesus,” in the Authorized Version of Hebrews 12:2, would be better translated, “Looking off unto Jesus.” The teaching of the exhortation is that the eyes should be turned definitely from all other objects and the gaze concentrated upon the Lord Jesus Himself where He now is.
A French translation gives, “Fixing the eyes upon Jesus,” and these words carry the meaning well.
Throughout this epistle the Holy Spirit of God sets before us the Lord Jesus seated at the right hand of God. He would have our hearts engaged with Him there.
In chapter 1:3 He is presented to view as the Son of God, who, by Himself, has made purgation of sins, and has sat down “on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” It is the glory of His PERSON here. He has accomplished the work for which He came. He has taken His own seat on the throne of God.
In chapter 8:1 we read of Him, “Such an one High Priest who has sat down on the right hand of the throne of the greatness in the heavens.” “We have” Him for us there, as He was for us on the Cross. He who once died now lives, and lives for ever. It is the glory of His PRIESTHOOD here.
In chapter 10:12 He is seen as the One who has offered one Sacrifice of ever-abiding efficacy, and having done so has taken His seat for ever at the right hand of God. Never will He rise to offer another Sacrifice. No other Sacrifice is necessary and no other Sacrifice is possible. Any other offering for sin would cast a slight upon the one already offered and accepted. It is the glory of His PROPITIATION which is now prominent.
Finally, in chapter 12:2, we see Him who was here for the will of God and who trod every step of that way for His Father’s glory, set down at the right hand of the throne of God. It is the glory of His PATHWAY in this passage.
The Hebrew believers to whom the epistle is addressed were suffering persecution for the truth. Their path was one of trial and difficulty. So it was that they were exhorted to have their thoughts engaged with the One who had run the whole race of faith and who after His path of sorrow and suffering, having “endured the cross despising the shame,” was seated in heaven.
A great cloud of witnesses to the overcoming power of faith had been seen in the previous chapter. Each of them had traversed part of the pathway, but Christ had gone the whole of the course, He was Author and Completer of faith. To Him they were to direct their gaze. They were to give the “away-look” to Himself in order that they might be strengthened and encouraged.
Stephen—the first martyr for Christ of whom we know—had thus acted when his opposers gnashed upon him with their teeth and were about to batter his body with stones. “Being full of the Holy Ghost he looked steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). He definitely directed his gaze heavenward, away from all that was passing here. And occupied thus with the Lord Jesus he bore witness to Him there and became like Him morally here and prayed for his very murderers.
And what has been written is for our instruction. Heaven is our portion and not earth. We, too, have been called with a heavenly calling and are not to seek our rest where Christ has been rejected. Trails and sorrows may abound. Difficulties and distresses may be known. And such must be the case in some way or other with all His own, for “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” and of chastisement “all are partakers.”
What are we to do? We are to fix our eyes upon our Lord and Saviour and so run with patience the race set before us. He endured and we are to endure. He has readied the goal and it is only “a little while” and we shall reach it also at His home call. We are to keep Him ever in view, and go forward.
As to our sins. We fix our eyes upon Him, who by Himself purged them all away at Calvary. He has settled for ever that question. He has blotted them out entirely and eternally.
As to ourselves and all that we find ourselves to be, even after our conversion, that is a settled matter also. Even now we are seen as “of one” with Himself in resurrection, for we read, “He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:11). “As He is so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). He has become our life (Col. 3:4). We fix our eyes upon Him and find our rest. And there alone. As it has been expressed:
“The curse is gone, through Thee we’re blest,
God rests in Thee—in Thee we rest.”
As to our circumstances we refuse to be over-anxious about them. They will be made to work together for our good in ways we understand not. What we know not now we shall know hereafter. Therefore deliberately turning away from every thing else we focus our thoughts upon our Saviour and Lord while we wait for His coming.
It is He Himself who comes, and soon and for ever we shall be present with Himself.
Then it will be
“There with unwearied gaze
Our eyes on Him we’ll rest,
And satisfy with endless praise
A heart supremely blest.”
Help and Food 1927