(26.) On Christ as the Pioneer

(26.) On Christ as the Pioneer

(26.) On Christ as the Pioneer.

“… Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus as the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross…”  (Hebrews 12:2).

Archegos (Greek): “Chief Leader” is the simplest literal meaning of archegos, but it means so much more than that:

1. Pioneer; pathfinder; trailblazer; captain; initiator; prince; one who sets a pattern; one who goes first to prepare the way for others; one who leads the way in founding something; the predecessor for others to follow.

2. Author; originator; primary source; the causer of something; creator.

An archegos can found a school that others may follow him or her into learning; an archegos can found a city that others may dwell in; an archegos can blaze a trail that others may follow; an archegos can begin a family that others may be born into; an archegos is the one who swims from a foundering ship with the safety line to tie it to an anchor on shore.” (John Ritenbaugh).

Archegos is only found four times in the New Testament, and it is used exclusively as a title for Jesus. Read the above definitions, both #1 and #2, and picture Jesus in those roles.

Acts 3:15. “But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the (archegos) of life, who God raised from the dead.” Peter laid it all on the line in his second sermon to the people, this time while standing in Solomon’s Portico at the Temple. How could you do this, Peter says. How could you deny and reject the Pure and Holy One, the Just and Blameless One? Even more tragically, you ended up killing the very Author of life! You took the life of the Source of life! How could you? But we are witnesses to the fact that God raised this Man Jesus from the dead. I realize that you acted in ignorance, brothers. You simply weren’t aware of what you were doing. This was foretold by the prophets, that God’s Messiah would experience poor treatment to the point of death. And now there is only one thing for you to do, brothers – Repent. Change your mind. Turn around and return to God. The Author of life desires to revive you with the fresh air of the Holy Spirit, to refresh you in the presence of the Lord. The Author of life wants to breathe new life into you.

Acts 5:31. “The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted Him at His right hand as (archegos) and Savior that He might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”  Things are moving fast in Jerusalem’s burgeoning Christian community, and Peter’s head must be spinning. He just oversaw the surprising and fearful deaths of Ananias and Sapphira; the apostles were making quite a splash as miracle workers in and around the Temple; they were all arrested by the high priest and dumped into a prison. But then they were miraculously released, without any of the prison guards knowing, by an angel in the middle of the night. So, the apostles returned to the Temple at dawn and continued preaching the name of Jesus, in direct disobedience of the Temple authorities. The leaders in the Temple were not pleased at this turn of events, and they had the guards bring these stubborn and unrepentant apostles before the Sanhedrin, the full senate of Israel. The apostles were asked to explain themselves before these rulers. As usual, Peter is the spokesman for the apostles, and he boldly proclaimed that their first obligation, before even obeying the laws of man, is to obey the laws of God. They were obliged to obey God rather than human authorities. And Peter continued… To think you killed Jesus by hanging him on a cross! But God had the last word, didn’t he, by exalting Jesus to His right hand in heaven. That’s right, all you rulers and high priests and authorities of Israel! God raised this very Man Jesus to be our Leader and Captain, our Savior! God has chosen to grant forgiveness to Israel through the very Man you executed! This is so exciting, how can we help but preach this good news to everyone in Israel! How can we not preach the name of Jesus at the Temple! Certainly you can understand.

Hebrews 2:10. “It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the (archegos) of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10). Jesus is our Pioneer, our perfect Leader, fit to blaze a new trail for our salvation. His suffering made Him fit to be our leader. He suffered death for us, and now is crowned with glory and honor. Our Pathfinder completed the work necessary for our salvation, and has brought behind Him many children into glory. He tasted death for every individual person. By God’s grace, His sacrifice is intended to benefit all humanity. He went first to prepare the way for the rest of us to follow. Jesus and His followers all have one Father, and think of this, Jesus is happy to call us His brothers and sisters! And to think that our brother Jesus pioneered this whole process of salvation.

Hebrews 12:2. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the (archegos) and perfector of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” We believers are running in a race of faith, and we need to run it with patient endurance and active persistence. Keep our eyes on Christ, who mapped out this race and is our Pioneer. He designed the course we are running, and we need to follow His instructions. He has been there before us, so let us follow Him as the Source of our belief. He saw joy ahead at the finish line, and that helped Him endure the shame and pain of the Cross. He persevered against stiff opposition from sinners and the devil himself, but he didn’t lose heart. Let us follow our faithful leader who has made a path for us. And look now, He is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven! We will all join our Pioneer in heaven if we run the race He has set before us, running it the way He Himself ran it for our salvation.