Looking Unto Jesus

Bible Book: Hebrews  12 : 2
Subject: Focus; Jesus, Our Focus; Looking to Jesus

The old adage, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," has never seemed to ring especially true. While hearing the wrong words may not physically hurt anyone, they can deliver quite an emotional blow. On the other hand, however, the right words can offer one help, encouragement, and strength.

There is a word that has helped me in my Christian life, perhaps more than anything else. It has brought special direction and devotion into my heart. The word is "Looking" in the text, "Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the 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" (Heb. 12:2).

This term, "aphorao," in the Greek, along with its special setting, suggests the following thoughts, the first being:

I. Forgetting Our Atmosphere

There are some twenty-three words that are rendered "look," "behold," or "see" in the New Testament. One word may mean to perceive with the eyes. Another suggests looking intently, or fixing the eyes upon. In the case of the blind receiving their sight, it simply means to see again. Our word, "aphorao," found only this single time, means "to look away from anything or anyone else."

We might say, then, that "Looking unto Jesus" involves several things.

A. Looking Away From Our Sins

This word beckons us to look away from our sins and iniquities. Sometimes, the enemy drags the failures of our past out of the closet. As we look at what we used to be, our spirits are downcast and defeated. But, when we look away from our sins, and look unto Jesus, we remember He was our Sin-bearer, and we are encouraged. As is stated earlier in this Epistle, "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many" (Heb. 9:28).

B. Looking Away From Our Self-life

If we're not careful, our shortcomings in our daily living will get more attention than the Lord Jesus. We sometimes began to feel sorry for ourselves and wallow in self-pity. But, when we look unto Jesus, we see His faithfulness, not our unfaithfulness. The truth is, "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself" (2 Tim. 2:13).

C. Looking Away From Our Situations

Like Simon Peter, we often take our eyes off of Jesus and begin to sink (see Matt. 14:30). Our circumstances dominate our thoughts and our actions. But, the admonition is to look away from our situations unto Jesus. Our circumstances change, but as is stated in the next chapter, "Jesus" is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). Oh, may we look unto Jesus and get beyond the atmospheres of life.

Another idea that is projected in this term involves our Focus.

II. Focusing Our Attention

As we turn from our sins, our self-life, and our situations, we are to turn toward Jesus. The word "unto," in the phrase "Looking unto Jesus, "denotes "motion to an object with the purpose of reaching it." Applying the term to our experience, we should be in motion toward Jesus with the purpose of reaching Him. We are to zero in on Jesus! We are to focus all our thoughts upon Him!

A. An Unblurred Focus

Once we turn from everything and everyone else, we can focus our attention upon Him and Him alone. A photograph will not be blurred if the camera's focus is right when the picture is taken. And, if we are genuinely focused on Christ, and all our attention is properly directed to Him, the picture, or the testimony of our lives, will represent the true image of Jesus.

B. An Unbroken Focus

The concept unveiled is that we are to be continually looking away from everything else, and constantly focusing on Christ. Using the photograph as an example again, to get a good picture, we must not only have the object properly focused, but we must not shake the camera. Similarly, when we discipline our hearts to look unto Jesus, with an unbroken focus, constant Christ-likeness will be projected from our lives.

C. An Unblocked Focus

To look unto Jesus, we must not allow anything to come between our hearts and the Savior! Sometimes people get between us and the Lord Jesus. On other occasions, our own desires hinder our perception of Christ. Even our position, or our status in life, can block our view of His glory. May the Holy Spirit help each of us to truly turn away from everything else and look unto Jesus with unhindered faith.

Lastly, along with forgetting our atmosphere, and focusing our attention, the term before us must also relay the idea of fastening our affection.

III. Fastening Our Affection

To look unto Jesus is to transfer our affection, from whatever we've been looking to, to the Savior Himself. It is more than looking unto Him out of sheer determination. It is a transfer of love, a change of adoration, an alteration of interest. Thus, Paul's exhortation to the Colossian believers comes to us, as well. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:1, 2).

There are three roles or positions ascribed to Jesus in the text.

A. Jesus, The Liberator

The name "Jesus" means "Savior, or Deliverer." The angel said, "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). We are no longer in bondage! With Paul, we can say, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2). And, to look unto Jesus is to love Him as our Liberator!

B. Jesus, The Originator

Not only is the Lord Jesus the great Liberator, the Savior, the Deliverer, but He is "the Author . . . of  our faith." The word "Author" means "the one who begins and takes the lead." In fact, the Greek term, "archegos," presents the idea of "chief leader, or chief example." Christ is the Chief Source and Example of faith! And, we not only love Him for setting us free, but we love Him for originating and exemplifying faith.

C. Jesus, The Culminator

The third truth set forth here is that Jesus is "the . . . Finisher of our faith." The term "finisher" (teleiotes in the Greek), indicates "perfector, or culminator." He is the Liberator, Originator, and Culminator of His people! He not only perfected faith in the sense that He finished what He came to do, but He will perfect that which He has begun in us (see Phil. 1:6). And, all our affection is to be directed toward Him.

A student once asked Rev. Frank Sells, "But, what if you don't have the strength to look unto Jesus?"

The wise teacher, who has helped many of us in this arena of truth, answered, "Well, it's looking unto Jesus for the strength to look unto Jesus!"

To say the least, all we need is found in Him! Oh, dear hearts, may we look away from everything else unto Him right now, today, always! Amen.