When my family visited some of the great church buildings in Spain and Italy, we were impressed to discover that many contained relics of the great saints of the Bible. Some contained objects that were used by the saints while others contained bones or even entire skeletons of the saints. Perhaps the most famous is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, where the body of Peter is entombed. These are impressive details and millions have worshiped at these churches because of the relics, believing the church receives a special blessing and protection from God. These churches are special, but it is not because of the possession of its relics. It is something far more special and important.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)
Who are the huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith that continually surrounds us? These are the great saints who earned their good reputation by clinging to the promises of God. Enoch, Abraham, Moses, David-the Holy Spirit reminds us in these passages from the Book of Hebrews that their lives are examples to encourage us in our faith. They persevered through suffering and persecution and many did not receive all of God’s promises in their lifetimes. Because of this, God honored all of them and blessed them. Their faith made them special.
We don’t need the relics of the great saints who have passed on before us to make a church special. We need their living faith. This is what makes any church special because it is the living body of Jesus Christ. I and every member of the Body of Jesus Christ carries the living Holy Spirit within me, not a lifeless relic. We are only saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.