Imagine all the believers throughout history gathered to celebrate what we have in Christ today. That’s the picture we’re given at the outset of Hebrews 12. Then, we’re told to take off running and enjoy the journey with Jesus, looking to Him as our inspiration.
But interestingly, this passage also brings controversy. The author seems to use the word “scourge” to describe God the Father’s treatment of His children. Scourge? Ouch! That would be punishment, not discipline. And that kind of punishment was usually reserved for criminals, not children.
So, what’s going on? Is God the Father really engaging in a form of child abuse to keep us in line? Isn’t it true that Jesus was scourged so we wouldn’t be… and “by His stripes we are healed” (1 Peter 2:24)?!?
In this clarifying message, you’ll learn the truth about God’s discipline: It’s training for the future, not punishment for the past. As a result, you’ll learn to trust your Father’s heart even more.
Discussion Questions for Hebrews 12:1-15
- Who is the great cloud of witnesses in verse 1?
- How is the Christian life like a race? Is it a marathon or a sprint? How do we “win”?
- What does the “sitting down” in verse 2 represent?
- Describe God’s discipline. How is it different from punishment?
- What is the alternate translation for the word “scourge” in verse 6? Why is this important?
- Read verses 7-11. Why can we look forward to God’s discipline?
- Read verse 14. Will only certain Christians see the Lord? Explain.