Christian, you are a runner in a race. The race you are running is the most important race you will ever run. You have everything to lose if you quit, but everything and more if you finish. Therefore, run to win. Run together to the end. Keep your eyes on the prize and run with confidence. Run without any burdens and discard entanglements. Finally, look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith.
One of the many lessons I learned from my cross-country ski coach was to keep my head up and look ahead when skiing, particularly when skiing up a steep hill. Going up a sharp incline is hard work, and it is natural to look down when you are tired. The problem, however, is that looking down leads you to focus on the pain and impedes your forward movement. By looking up and ahead, you are in a better mental and physical position to drive yourself forward up the hill.
In a similar fashion, when we run the Christian race, we need to look up and ahead to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). By encouraging us to look to Jesus, the author of Hebrews is not saying that we should merely think of Jesus, but that we ought to grasp the practical significance of who Jesus is and what he has done.
Specifically, what should we think about when we think about Jesus? When we look to Jesus, what should we see?
First, we should see our trailblazer. The author of Hebrews says that Jesus is the founder of our faith. The word “founder,” which is also used in Hebrews 2:10, may be translated as “pioneer.” The context in Hebrews strongly suggests the idea of a pioneer, who lays down a path for others to follow. In some of the cross-country ski races I attended, the racetrack had not been set by the morning of the race. This might have happened because of a lack of equipment or because of a heavy snowfall the night before. In such situations, it would be a serious handicap to race at the front because you would have to blaze the trail yourself, which would require a lot more effort. To make the race fair, two or three non-racing skiers would ski the course early in the morning to lay the track for everyone else to follow. They would be the trail blazers.
Similarly, Jesus is our trail blazer who has paved the way to God for us.