Christian Living

The Joy That Was Set Before Him

Today is Good Friday, the day when we Christians take extra care to remember the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and what he endured for us. The scriptures tell us that he was beaten beyond recognition (Isaiah 52:14). The soldiers whipped him mercilessly, spit in his face, and literally pulled the hair out of his beard (Isaiah 50:6-7). Placing a cloak on his body and a crown of thorns on his head, the soldiers mocked him, putting a reed in his hand like a scepter and bowing saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”. Then they beat him again before finally nailing him to the cross (Matthew 27:27-55). The fullness of his suffering (physically, spiritually, and emotionally) is more than we could ever fully comprehend.

Jesus knew the suffering that he would face, and he was not looking forward to it (Matthew 26:39). He could have quit at any time, but he chose not to. So, what kept him motivated? How could he, knowing everything that he would endure on earth and in the spirit, stay the course like a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7)? My friend, he was sustained by the hope of eternity with you and me.

Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus’ thinking saying, “Looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” What was that “joy set before him”? That joy was/is the joy of spending eternity with you and me – eternal life with us in heaven. That’s what kept him motivated. That’s what got him through everything, not just the cross but all of his struggles in life. Hebrews 2:17-18 says,

“Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brothers [us] so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”

We all face struggles in life – temptations, addictions, abuse from others, financial hardships, etc. It’s hard, and sometimes feels impossible. Literary principles describe 6 different types of conflict (conflict with self, others, society, nature, the supernatural, and/or technology). Personally, I’ve experienced all of them at some point (some of them at several points) in my life. Through it all, the most pertinent question has been, “How do you get through it?”. To that I say, follow the example of Christ. Keep your eyes on the hope of eternity with Christ in heaven. The struggles still come and they’re still hard, but keep your eyes on Jesus and let the joy of your future with him get you through – just as it helped him endure the cross.

Jesus knows your struggles, personally. He can help you get through them. That’s his promise. That’s why he suffered everything…for you and me.

May the Lord bless you and keep you on this Good Friday, my friend!
Griff

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