Hebrews chapter 11 was all about the OT heroes who lived by faith. There were those who won great victories by faith and those who appeared to be failures but still lived by faith and hung on to the truth of God’s promises. In chapter 12, especially in verse 2, we see that the ultimate example of faith given is Jesus Himself. Hebrews 12:2 says, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” We are to keep the faith by looking to Jesus! He is the starting point and the finish line of faith. If there’s a race to be run, it’s run “in Christ.” Several times in previous chapters of this letter, the author calls his readers to “think about,” “look to,” and “consider” Jesus! Allen says, “The prefixed preposition in the compound word in Greek indicates focused attention in the sense of ‘to look away’ from everything else and to focus on one object or person.”[1]

Yes, all of the heroes were deliverers of their people, especially Abraham, Moses, the judges and David who is quoted often in Hebrews. But they are just images of the coming redeemer, Jesus Himself. All of those mentioned in Hebrews 11 were simply shadows of the coming redemption that Christ would bring. Turn away from the shadows and look to the real thing. We must see Jesus as the ultimate of all deliverers and that to which the whole Old Testament in pointing towards. In Hebrews 2:10, Jesus was called the “author of our salvation.” Lane says, “In the light of the athletic metaphor, it is proper to recognize in ἀρχηγός the nuance of ‘champion’ demonstrated for the term in its first occurrence in 2:10 (see Comment on 2:10; cf. Snell, 148–49: Jesus is ‘the exemplar, the champion of faith’)”.[2]

The angels, the prophets, the law, and even the law giver, Moses are simply Old Testament figures pointing to the redemption ultimately to be found in Jesus, our true Hero. He is the “finisher” of our faith. Looking to Jesus as the Savior is our only recourse. It looks back at the serpent on the stick in the wilderness. Numbers 21:9 tells us that the crowd of sinners had only one path that would lead to salvation. It says, “So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.” When Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus, before quoting the most famous passage in the Bible (John 3:16), he mentions this Old Testament experience and says in John 3:14-15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” It’s not the Old Testament heroes that offer salvation. It’s only Jesus!

[1] David L. Allen, Hebrews, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2010), 574.

[2] William L. Lane, Hebrews 9–13, vol. 47B, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1991), 411.