“Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith..” Hebrews 12:2 KJV
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” Hebrews 12:2 NASB
“But ye are come … and to Jesus the Mediator of a New Covenant” Hebrews 12:22, 24 KJV
“But you have come … and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant…” Hebrews 12:22,24 NASB
Hebrews 11 is the great ‘faith’ chapter of the Bible. A myriad of individuals, some named and some unnamed, are paraded before us, not to imitate, but to inspire. They were the witness bearers in their day. Some were victors and some victims. All pleased God in the arena of faith. But after detailing the variety of believers and the varied circumstances of their lives, he turns our attention to another.
“Looking (off) unto Jesus.” The Authorized Version (King James) has unfortunately added the word “our” to “faith.” Here, however, the Spirit of God is focusing our attention on a life which so exhibited faith, that He is called the author and Perfecter of a life of faith. All the great testimony bearers of Hebrews 11 must step aside. He is not greater than them in their weak points; He is greater than the greatest in their strong points. They may have triumphed by faith, but their triumphs are not worthy to be compared with His. He is the very Author, origin, of the faith-life. And He is the One Who lived it perfectly without a moment’s distraction.
Thus, the writer of Hebrews directs every eye to this Man, Jesus. He is not suggesting that we ignore the witness bearers of chapter 11. He is telling us to focus on the perfect example. The idea is to look off, to get my eyes fixed on Him for the race. The chapter then moves from the contest to the chastening by the Father for our spiritual profit. From there He tells us that we have come, not to Mt. Sinai and the law, but to Mt Zion and all its blessings.
After telling of the City, the festive array of angels, the Church of firstborn ones, to God the Judge, and the spirits of Old Testament saints, He tells us that we have come to Jesus. While this is a present reality, we have not yet physically arrived in the City. But when we do, we will have come to “Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant.”
The Spirit of God began the chapter by focusing our eyes only on Jesus, the Man Who lived down here, the perfect and complete life of Faith. He closes the chapter by telling us that when we arrive in that City, our eyes will behold “Jesus,” the One Who has brought us into all the blessings of the New Covenant. Jesus now and then!
We are to be occupied with Him now; we will gaze upon Him then eternally. While we will see the King in His glory and the Lord “High and lifted up,” we will never forget that He was the Man down here Who was the despised Jesus of Nazareth.
Do you see some link between a firstborn who lost everything and the description of those in the Church who are called “firstborn ones”?
Look at some of the expressions used for the “Covenant” in Hebrews: second, better, new, and everlasting. While all contrast with the first covenant of law, each does highlight a different aspect of this “New Covenant.”