12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, 1 let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which a doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
(1) An applying of the former examples, by which we ought to be stirred up to run the whole race, casting away all hindrances and impediments.
12:2 2 b Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the c joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(a) For sin besieges us on all sides, so that we cannot escape.
(2) He sets before us, as the mark of this race, Jesus himself our captain, who willingly overcame all the roughness of the same way.
12:3 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
(b) As it were upon the mark of our faith.
(c) While he had every type of blessedness in his hand and power, yet suffered willingly the shame of the cross.
(3) An amplification, taken from the circumstance of the person and the things themselves, which he compares between themselves: for how great is Jesus in comparison of us, and how far more grievous things did he suffer than we?
12:4 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
(4) He takes an argument from the profit which comes to us by Godís chastisements, unless we are at fault. First of all because sin, or that rebellious wickedness of our flesh, is by this means tamed.
12:5 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
(5) Secondly, because they are testimonies of his fatherly good will towards us, in that they show themselves to be illegitimate, if they cannot abide to be chastened by God.
12:9 6 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
(6) Thirdly, if all men yield this right to fathers, to whom next after God we owe this life, that they may rightfully correct their children, shall we not be much more subject to our Father, who is the author of spiritual and everlasting life?
12:10 7 For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness.
(7) An amplification of the same argument: Those fathers have corrected us after their fancy, for some frail and temporary good: but God chastens and instructs us for our singular good to make us partakers of his holiness: which although our senses do not presently perceive it, yet the end of the matter proves it.
12:12 8 Wherefore lift up the hands which d hang down, and the feeble knees;
(8) The conclusion: we must go forward courageously and keep always a right course and (as far forth as we may) without any staggering or stumbling.
12:13 And make e straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
(d) The description of a man that is out of heart and completely discouraged.
(e) Keep a right course, and so, that you show examples of good life for others to follow.
12:14 9 Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
(9) We must live in peace and holiness with all men.
12:15 10 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any f root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled;
12:16 11 Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
(10) We must study to edify one another both in doctrine and example of life.
(f) That no heresy, or backsliding be an offence.
12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no g place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
(11) We must shun immorality, and a profane mind, that is, such a mind as does not give God his due honour, which wickedness, how severely God will at length punish, the horrible example of Esau teaches us.
(g) There was no room left for his repentance: and it appears by the effects, what his repentance really was, for when he left his fatherís presence, he threatened to kill his brother.
12:18 12 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be h touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
12:21 And so terrible was the i sight, [that] Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
(12) Now he applies the same exhortation to the prophetic and kingly office of Christ compared with Moses, after this sort. If the majesty of the law was so great, how great do you think the glory of Christ and the gospel is? This comparison he declares also particularly.
(h) Which might be touched with hands, which was of a gross and earthly matter.
(i) The shape and form which he saw, which was no counterfeit and forged shape, but a true one.
12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made k perfect,
(k) So he calls them that are taken up to heaven, although one part of them sleeps in the earth.
12:25 13 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more [shall not] we [escape], if we turn away from him that [speaketh] from heaven:
12:26 14 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, l Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
(13) The applying of the former comparison: If it were not lawful to condemn his word which was spoken on the earth, how much less his voice which is from heaven?
12:28 15 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with m reverence and godly n fear:
(14) He compares the steadfast majesty of the gospel, with which the whole world was shaken, and even the very frame of heaven was astonished, with the small and vanishing sound of the governance by the law.
(l) It appears evidently in this that the prophet speaks of the calling of the Gentiles, that these words must refer to the kingdom of Christ.
(15) A general exhortation to live reverently and religiously under the most happy subjection of so mighty a King, who as he blesses his most mightily, so does he most severely revenge the rebellious. This is the sum of a Christian life, respecting the first table of the law.
(m) By reverence is meant that honest modesty which keeps them in their duties.
(n) Religious and godly fear.