Examples or en samples are good for nothing if the example does not show what the writer is striving to teach. Christ entered into the throws of death, as a boxer enters the ring in a boxing match. He was not made, as some teach, nor did He entreat the Father to extricate Him. In no cowardly fashion did our Lord and Captain approach His death. Paul, as he is directed by the Holy Spirit, uses verbiage that teaches the Hebrew Christians NOT to ever relinquish or surrender citing them example after example previous to citing them Christ, to prove his position. “Ye have not resisted unto blood.” The image here is from pugilism (boxing), as the Holy Spirit previously had the image of a race, both being taken from the great national games of the Greeks, the example could not be used if it had not existed, it would not teach a lesson. An example of fighting an opponent would have been useless had our Lord “withdrew from the ring” as some contend in Gethsemane! The brethren to whom Paul was writing were to suffer the loss of goods, and become a gazing-stock by reproaches and afflictions; they would shed blood (Hebrews 13:7). “The athlete who had seen his own blood, and who, though cast down by his opponent, let his spirits be cast down as often as he had fallen, had to be exhorted to rise the more determined than ever to win the contest. The fighter goes into the ring and anticipation and intends to win!! What mockery this would have presented the world if the Captain of our salvation had failed to “win the race, set before Him.?”
We are to fight against sin, not give in to it. Sin is personified as an adversary; sin, whether with you attempting to spare your blood, or in our adversaries, leading them to shed it, if they could not through your faithfulness even unto blood, see some example in Christ to cause them to fight to the death, how would this example induce them to continue in the faith? The cause of the conflict was sin, the gentle and moderate would never stand up to the fight. The fight has a good cause, for sin is the worst enemy both to God and man. We are engaged in spiritual warfare, which is both honorable and worthwhile. We are not defending ourselves, we are defending the Captain of our Salvation, we are enlisted under His banner, against sinful doctrines, practices, and habits. We cannot “throw in the towel” because the opponent is too strong, we have to bear up under the fiercest odds. Thankfully, our Lord, does not call His people out to the hardest battles at first, but wisely trains them by the easier rounds to be prepared for greater. He will not put new wine into weak vessels, He is the “gentle shepherd,” who will not ruin the “young ones in the flock” by breaking their spirits in conflicts that the wisest and most tried would have trouble bearing!! As He, we CAN bear up under battle!!
It becomes Christians to take notice of the gentleness of Christ in accommodating their trial to their strength. We should not over play our afflictions, but should take notice of the mercy that is mixed with them, and should admire, pity, and use as examples those who are called to the fiery trials to “resist to blood;” not to shed the blood of their enemies, but to seal their testimony with their blood!! This the example of our Lord and why it is used!! Afflictions endured, though they may be the fruits of God’s displeasure, are yet proofs of His paternal love to His people. “Whom the Lord loves, He chastises, and scourges every son whom He receives.” The best of God’s children need correction; we are His family, and shall not escape His rebukes even when we want not to have them. In this He acts as a father, and treats us like children. No wise and good father will wink at faults in His own children as he would in others; his relation and his affection oblige him to take more notice of the faults of his own children rather than those of his brothers! If God allowed us to go on in sin without correction, He would show us a bad sign, that He was alienated from us, and cause us to think we were bastards or strangers, not sons. Many call Him Father, because He is the head of the church; but do not appreciate His affection in correction!! If we are resistant to His correction and behave worse toward Him than we have to our earthly fathers, we show Him no reverence!! But, who can be proud of a father who is called a coward by His won children??, that which, some of the sons of the Almighty call our Captain!!
Children who have parents that will not correct them when wrong are loved less by the very parent that brought them into this world than they deserve. Do not expect this of our righteous King!!