Hebrews 12:3 MEANING

Hebrews 12:3
(3) The figure of the race is still continued, "For unless ye thus look unto Jesus ye will grow weary."

Consider.--Literally, compare; place your sufferings by the side of His.

Him that endured such contradiction.--Rather, Him that hath endured such gainsaying from sinners against themselves. The word "gainsaying," (Hebrews 6:16; Hebrews 7:7) is so frequently used in the LXX. for the rebelliousness of the people of Israel, that we need not here limit it to contradiction in words. The change of "Himself" into "themselves" (the reading of the oldest MSS.) is important, but it is not easy to say with what the last two words should be joined; for the meaning may be either "sinners against themselves" (comp. Numbers 16:38), or "gainsaying against themselves," In either case the force of the words will be that the sin or the opposition manifested against Him was really against themselves, since it was for their salvation that He came upon earth. To all His other sorrows were added the pain of their ingratitude and His grief over their aggravated guilt.

And faint.--Rather, fainting in your souls.

Verse 3. - For consider him that hath endured such contradiction of sinners against himself (or, of the sinners against him), lest ye be weary fainting in your souls. The word ἀντιλογία ("contradiction"), though strictly applicable to verbal gainsaying, and thus especially suggesting to our minds the blasphemies and false accusations against Christ, includes opposition of all kinds. It is used in the LXX. for "rebellion" (Hebrew, סְרַי), 2 Samuel 22:41; Proverbs 17:11, cf. Jude 1:11, τῇ ἀντιλογιᾴ τοῦ Κορέ. (Instead of εἰς ἑαυτόν (al. εἰς αὐτὸν) there is weighty manuscript authority for εἰς ἑαυτούς, equivalent to "against themselves.") "Lest ye be weary," etc., keeps in view the idea of getting tired in a race, the word ἐκλυεσθαι ("faint") being used primarily for corporeal, and figuratively for mental, lassitude (cf. Matthew 15:32, μήποτε ἐκλυθῶσι ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).

12:1-11 The persevering obedience of faith in Christ, was the race set before the Hebrews, wherein they must either win the crown of glory, or have everlasting misery for their portion; and it is set before us. By the sin that does so easily beset us, understand that sin to which we are most prone, or to which we are most exposed, from habit, age, or circumstances. This is a most important exhortation; for while a man's darling sin, be it what it will, remains unsubdued, it will hinder him from running the Christian race, as it takes from him every motive for running, and gives power to every discouragement. When weary and faint in their minds, let them recollect that the holy Jesus suffered, to save them from eternal misery. By stedfastly looking to Jesus, their thoughts would strengthen holy affections, and keep under their carnal desires. Let us then frequently consider him. What are our little trials to his agonies, or even to our deserts? What are they to the sufferings of many others? There is a proneness in believers to grow weary, and to faint under trials and afflictions; this is from the imperfection of grace and the remains of corruption. Christians should not faint under their trials. Though their enemies and persecutors may be instruments to inflict sufferings, yet they are Divine chastisements; their heavenly Father has his hand in all, and his wise end to answer by all. They must not make light of afflictions, and be without feeling under them, for they are the hand and rod of God, and are his rebukes for sin. They must not despond and sink under trials, nor fret and repine, but bear up with faith and patience. God may let others alone in their sins, but he will correct sin in his own children. In this he acts as becomes a father. Our earthly parents sometimes may chasten us, to gratify their passion, rather than to reform our manners. But the Father of our souls never willingly grieves nor afflicts his children. It is always for our profit. Our whole life here is a state of childhood, and imperfect as to spiritual things; therefore we must submit to the discipline of such a state. When we come to a perfect state, we shall be fully reconciled to all God's chastisement of us now. God's correction is not condemnation; the chastening may be borne with patience, and greatly promote holiness. Let us then learn to consider the afflictions brought on us by the malice of men, as corrections sent by our wise and gracious Father, for our spiritual good.For consider him,.... In the greatness of his person, as God, the Son of God, the heir of all things; and in his offices of prophet, priest, and King, as the Saviour of lost sinners, the Leader and Commander of the people, as the apostle and high priest of our profession: consider him in his human nature, his conversation on earth, and what he did and suffered for men; how that in his nature he was pure and holy, in his conversation harmless and innocent, in his deportment meek and lowly; who went about doing good to the souls of men, and at last suffered and died, and is now glorified: consider the analogy between him and us, and how great is the disproportion; and therefore if he was ill treated, no wonder we should consider him under all his reproaches and sufferings:

that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself; against his person, they denying his deity, and speaking against his sonship, and against his offices; mocking him as a King, deriding him as a prophet, and treating him with the utmost contempt as a priest and Saviour; and against his actions, his works of mercy to the bodies of men, when done on the sabbath day; his conversing with sinners for the good of their souls, as if he was an encourager of them in sin, and a partner with them; his miracles, as if they were done by the help of the devil; and against the whole series of his life, as if it was criminal. Now we should analogize this contradiction, and see what proportion there is between this, and what is endured by us: we should consider the aggravations of it, that it was "against himself"; sometimes it was against his disciples, and him through them, as it is now against his members, and him in them; but here it was immediately and directly against himself: and this he endured "from sinners"; some more secret, as the Scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees; some more open, as the common people; some of them the vilest of sinners, the most abandoned of creatures, as the Roman soldiers, and Herod's men of war: and this should be considered, that we cannot be contradicted by viler or meaner persons; and it is worthy of notice, with what courage and bravery of mind, with what patience and invincible constancy he endured it: this should be recollected for imitation and encouragement,

lest ye be wearied, and faint in your minds; contradiction is apt to make persons weary and faint, as Rebekah was, because of the daughters of Heth, and as Jeremiah was, because of the derision of the Jews, Genesis 27:46 but a consideration of Jesus, and of what he has endured, tends to relieve the saints in such a condition; See Matthew 10:25.

Courtesy of Open Bible