For the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, “faith” involves seeing the unseen, and it leads preeminently to endurance during one’s pilgrimage through this present world (Heb. 10:39).
Hebrews chapter 11 illustrates such enduring faith, as the author leads us through a believer’s hall of fame — from A(bel) to Z(achariah) [unnamed but probably referenced] in the Old Testament, but also including the unnamed Maccabean martyrs between the Testaments. The first part of this chapter discusses faithful people who prevailed against great odds — the kind of outcome we all enjoy. The second part of the chapter discusses equally faithful people who looked exactly like losers in this life, but on whom God smiled and for whom he has prepared an eternal residence with himself!
Chapter 12 continues the exhortation of 10:39, holding before us the godly example of these believers in chapter 11, but especially the example of Jesus himself — who perfectly trusted God and endured the ultimate godforsakenness, only to be vindicated by God’s act of deliverance — which also vindicated God’s faithfulness to those who trust him (12:2-3).