Have you ever hiked through deep snow? How about a walk through the brush or dense forest? How about mountain climbing? In all those you need a trailblazer or a bushwhacker. Trust me, deep snow is SOOOO much easier to trudge through if you have a really big dude in front of you cutting a path. OK, maybe you haven’t done any of that but what about drafting (not the drawing kind)? Have you ever snuggled up behind a big-rig or followed someone on a bicycle? OK, maybe you have never actually done any of those things but I bet you have seen birds in formation. In all those cases the same principle applies. You get to take the easier path. Someone or something else plows the way and you take the smooth path. Sometimes you follow at a long distance like Lewis and Clark followers or the scouts for the wagon train or… you get the idea. I like that concept. Did you know the same idea is in the Bible? Yep the Bible is full of trailblazers and bushwhackers. Check out these verses about Jesus, the perfect pioneer and captain.
Acts 3:15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.
Acts 5:31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
The words bolded are all the same word in the Greek. Here is the definition.
arxēgós(from 746 /arxḗ, “the first” and 71 /ágō, “to lead”) – properly, the first in a long procession; a file-leader who pioneers the way for many others to follow. 747 (arxēgós) does not strictly mean “author,” but rather “a person who is originator or founder of a movement and continues as the leader – i.e. ‘pioneer leader, founding leader’
A derived English word is Archetype: n original that has been imitated. “the archetype of faith is Abraham.”
Abraham was an archetype, a bushwhacker of faith. Abraham knew God. God knew Abraham. Abraham believed God and it was counted as righteousness. Abraham had a right relationship with God. As a result Abraham trusted God. He slipped up a few times like most of us. His biggest mistake was trying to help God deliver on a promise. That resulted in Ishmael. That was a bad situation. So when Abraham had Isaac, he got the opportunity to trust God with his son. Abraham did not waver in his trust (faith) in God. He knew God would keep His promises. So when God asked him to sacrifice his son Abraham probably had to overcome some fear and anxiety but he didn’t hesitate. He knew God would keep His word. He knew God was trustworthy. Paul says this about the event:
Heb 11:19 For he reasoned that God was able to raise [him] up even from among the dead. Indeed in the sense that Isaac was figuratively dead [potentially sacrificed], he did [actually] receive him back from the dead. (AMP)
I don’t know about you but that is some powerful faith. The religious will quote James to you “don’t you know brother that faith without works is dead so we need to be like Abraham.” Absolutely! How many people have you believed for to be raised from the dead? How many have you prayed for? In the context that is what is means by “works.” Just saying Abraham believed anything was possible with God and God would always keep His word.
Jesus, even more than Abraham had amazing faith. As a matter of fact Jesus had perfect or complete faith. Check out this verse:
Heb 2:10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
See the bolded word. Yep, that is the pioneer word again. Jesus is our forerunner of faith. The suffering is His complete surrender to the will of God. He never had a moment of “self” even under the greatest persecution. He was rejected by man but didn’t reject man. Instead He forgave those that killed Him and all of us too. Could you do that? Not in your power, I guarantee. So with that in mind I want to show you what it looks like to follow the greatest trailblazer ever.
Heb 12:1 Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, (AMP)
The original language here is pretty cool. It is like you are in a race literally and the runner next to you tries to hold you back or bump into or crowd your lane. I used to run track (long long time ago) and a strategy on long distance races was to trip the other guy up. It wouldn’t be overt. Maybe they would just cut you off and it caused you to stumble in your stride. That is the “sin” in this context. It doesn’t come from within but from outside. Oh by the way you have a HUGE crowd cheering you on. Come on! That is good news. Here is the next verse:
Heb 12:2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (AMP)
There it is again, pioneer, bushwhacker, trailblazer, author… Jesus hung on the cross as a man. In those final moments He had to have faith that God was who He said He was. He had to have faith that God was going to raise Him on the third day (like He said), He was going to crown Him with glory (like He said) and He was going to return home (like He said). Jesus had the ultimate faith in a good God that loved Him as His son (like He said). He defeated death and sin with that faith. We don’t have to endure the cross. We can look to Jesus and see His faith and know “if God can say that and do that then He can be trusted.” That is our faith. We believe and trust in the same loving God that raised Jesus from the dead. Not only that but Jesus died to give us the same relationship with our Father in Heaven. He died to demonstrate His love for us. We are God’s beloved children just like Jesus. How could we not follow Him…the ultimate trailblazer. When we follow His lead we get to be like Him. Actually we are transformed into His image, His likeness, His faith:
2 Cor 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)
Jesus’ final words on the cross are from Psalm 22. I don’t know if you have read the whole Psalm but check out the beginning, middle and end:
Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning? (AMP)
Psalm 22:24 For He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has He hidden His face from him, but when he cried to Him, He heard. (AMP)
Psalm 22:31 They shall come and shall declare His righteousness to a people yet to be born—that He has done it [that it is finished]! (AMP)
That is our faith, His faith. Jesus quoted this Psalm on the cross for a reason. He wanted us to know that in the moment of His greatest sorrow and shame He knew how awesome God is. He knew with all certainty that God was going to deliver on His promises. He had no doubt. So much so that He declared “IT IS FINISHED.” Our righteousness, our right relationship with God is secure. We can trust Him explicitly. We never need to doubt. We never need to worry. We should be confident in our Jesus. His faith is our faith. He is in us. We are in Him. We are living His life. We are being transformed into His image. If God can do that…We just need to look to the cross and live from the resurrection. I really love following a trailblazer, especially one I love so much.