Most of us have difficult people in our lives; and difficult people make life exhausting. The challenge of managing such strenuous relationships, or simply having to exist in the presence of a challenging person (such as a coworker), can wipe us out mentally, physically, and spiritually.
No one faced this challenge more than Jesus, and he is the one to whom we are to look when we are called to endure as well.
Hebrews 12:3 says, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” The command is to consider. This word carries the meaning of analyzing, or reflecting with deep thought. Meaning, as you face the exhausting effort of dealing with opposition, you are commanded to look to Jesus as an example (Heb.12:2).
Who are we to consider?“Him,” speaking of Jesus. Then the author describes what specifically we are to consider regarding Jesus, that he “endured from sinners such hostility against himself.” Jesus told his disciples in John 15:20, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” We should not be surprised that we face such difficult people who oppose us if we are walking examples of the light of Christ. In fact, in Matthew 5:11, Jesus says we are blessed when we are insulted or persecuted for our affiliation to him.
The command to “consider” what Jesus endured has a desired result. We must consider him when faced with insult and persecution “so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” The example that Jesus set for us of enduring the difficulties, insults, and persecution led him to death. He spilled his blood while enduring. Hebrews 12:4 goes on to say, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Meaning, we have not been faced with the challenge of enduring to the point of death, as Jesus did…at least not yet. So, he has been through more, and is therefore a faithful confidant in whom we can find strength to endure as he has provided us a paved path of endurance.
That truth is what keeps us going. Considering what Jesus has endured for us, to save us, and also to prepare a path of endurance that we must run with him is meant to keep us from growing weary and fainthearted and giving up. He has gone before us, and it was joy (Heb.12:2) that caused him to endure. We also have his joy set before us to continue forward, and we have his example behind us to push us onward!