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Think about Jesus’ example. He held on while wicked people were doing evil things to him. So do not get tired and stop trying. Hebrews 12:3 (NCV)

The writer to the Hebrews challenges us to press on in the face of ‘wicked people’ intent on doing evil things to us. The example he uses is the ultimate example of love, grace, patience, mercy and forgiveness, Jesus Christ. Jesus, the writer reminds us, endured attacks by evil people yet he held on to accomplish the task before him in spite of the adversity.

You mind may conjure up visions of these ‘wicked people’ who were a constant thorn in Jesus side throughout his ministry. You may see battles similar to Cowboys and Indians, or Cops and Robbers. Maybe you see some heavenly version of ‘Star Wars’ being played out with Jesus in the center of the battle and enemy warriors surrounding him.

Before you let your imagination run wild, think for a moment of whom the ‘wicked people’ were that the writer is referring to. Maybe you are thinking it was the Romans. After all, they were ruthless warriors whose army ruled the known world with an iron fist. But frankly, the Romans weren’t interested in Jesus. Caesar was perfectly fine letting the Jews have their religion and their prophets as long as they remained in political subjection to the Roman Government by paying taxes and behaving themselves. Jesus was just another religious zealot in a long line of kooks that walked the paths of Palestine.

The ‘wicked people’ probably weren’t women in Galilee and the surrounding area. Jesus’ treatment of women was remarkable compared to society of the day. When Jesus walked the paths of Galilee the top priorities were livestock, children and women, in that order. Jesus elevated women to a place of importance equal to men.

Robbers? Tax Collectors? The poor and destitute? Prostitutes? The wealthy? Were they the wicked people? Not likely. These were the very people that sought Jesus out for comfort and a word of hope and forgiveness. Nor were those who opposed the Roman Government. Even though Jesus never spoke in opposition to the Romans, he certainly spoke a message of freedom and hope. Many mistakenly thought he would become King of Israel.

So, again, just who were the people the writer of Hebrews is referring to? Who were these wicked people that were always a constant thorn in the side of Jesus? Sadly, those who opposed Jesus the most were the religious people of the day. The ones with the status and respect of the people.

As you struggle through the path of life you are on, remember this. Jesus endured the same scoffing you have endured. He saw firsthand how people who ‘failed’ were treated. They are the ones he reached out to.

It doesn’t matter what struggle you are enduring right now, Jesus understands. Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t allow those who are intent on reminding you of your failures and weaknesses to pull you down. Jesus knows all about your struggle. He didn’t come to condemn you. He came to encourage, to offer hope and forgiveness. To extend the grace of God to you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you today for the fact that you understand my struggles and love me even though I fail. Empower me with your spirit to stop listening to those who want to pull me down. Help me rise above the attacks so I can live in the freedom a relationship with you offers. Amen.

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