Hebrews 11 is well known to serious students of the Bible and stands as a tribute to faithful servants of God from long ago.
The list of names forms a “Who’s Who” of Old Testament heroes; Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, to drop a few names.
In verses 35-40, the word “others” appears twice to inform us the list given is not complete, and that enduring in faith is not only heroic, but also involves sacrifice and suffering. The author mentions experiences endured by these others such as torture, humiliation, beatings, chains, imprisonment, stoning, being sawn in two, abuse, homelessness and, death.
The ancient apologist, Tertullian reminds us; “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
Who were these unnamed “others”? Whose faces flashed through the mind of the writer? Perhaps heaven will reveal these unknowns.
Perhaps reflection on the passage causes us to respond in two ways:
1: With gratitude for the strength and faith exhibited, which drew them to the high and ultimate price of their calling and, as a result, to commit ourselves to honoring and obeying God despite the cost. And
2: To deeply examine my own commitment to following Christ in light of the challenges I face in my time and culture.
In my office I have an 8 1/2 x 11 sign from a Willow Creek Leadership Conference. It reads:
You can choose COURAGE,
Or you can choose COMFORT,
But you cannot choose them both.