Run the Race Course, Looking at Jesus
Why should Christians look intently at Jesus rather than at someone else?
To look intently at someone means to have the mind or attention closely directed toward that person; to have one’s interest engrossed in what the person says and does. It means to direct one’s powers of observation with fixed or keen attention. Among the reasons why Christians should look intently at Jesus rather than at another are these:
Because the Bible, God’s Word, tells us to do so. At Hebrews 12:1, 2 we read: “So, then, because we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also put off every weight and the sin that easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, as we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus.”*
We should also look intently at Jesus rather than at any other because he was the greatest teacher that ever walked the earth. He was sent by God, and what he taught originated with God. Among the instructions he gave his followers were to keep on seeking first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, to preach the good news of the Kingdom and to make disciples of people of all nations.
How will looking intently at Jesus help us to run the race course successfully?
Jesus at all times pleased his heavenly Father. By looking intently at him, imitating him, we also can be pleasing to God. We therefore always want to ask, What would Jesus do under these circumstances? Then let us be sure that we answer that question from the Bible, not merely personal opinion. For example, what should we do if our own family tries to discourage us from serving God? Looking at Jesus, we find that while on earth his brothers did not exercise faith in him. But did that deter him? Not in the least! (John 7:5) If we look intently at him, such discouragement will not slow us down in the race either.
Looking at Jesus will help us to run the race successfully, for it will keep us humble. When someone addressed Jesus as “Good Teacher,” Jesus reproved him, saying, “Why do you call me good? Nobody is good, except one, God.” And even though he was the Teacher and Master or Lord of his disciples, he stressed that he came, not to be served, but to serve and to give his life for them.
At times a Christian in carrying out his ministerial commission may be inclined to depend upon human reasoning or worldly knowledge in refuting error and teaching truth. Here again, by looking to Jesus he will be able to take the wise course, the right one, for Jesus always referred his listeners and his opposers to the Scriptures, saying: “It is written.” How much better, how much more effective, how much more God-honoring it is to follow Jesus’ example in this also!
For details see The Watchtower, September 1, 1970.