Why do you work for the Lord? For me, it is because I love the Lord and because I know that I know that I will have eternal life with the Lord, but it is also because of the many saints who have come before me. In the book of Hebrews, the Lord tells us of the many saints who have labored for the Lord. He says,
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
This is why we work for the Lord, because we desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
All of these saints came before us, each having faithfully run the course of the race that was laid out before them, and I know that they are now watching us from heaven cheering us on as we run the same race that God has laid out before us.
12 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
You may not have thought of this, but Paul is with the Lord and he is one of those witnesses that are watching us, and today we are going to learn the names of a few more saints who are standing with Paul, and with Jesus, watching us as a cloud of saints, witnessing us as we run the race that is set before us.
Without a doubt this is a lesson that, just like with the begats and the begots at the beginning of Matthew, there is a list of names that is so easy just to pass by without reading. But as I sat there this week trying to figure out whether I should spend much time on this list or not, I told myself that God has put this list in His Word for a reason, so I committed myself to studying it, and learning what God has for us here.
Even after spending the week with these names, I don’t know if this list is here just so we have a list of saints who we can be sure are in that cloud of witnesses watching us, or if it is to assure us that there have been those who came before us, and God was glorified by their work just as He is by our own work. Either way, I just want God to be glorified by this study.