“Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, not letting the shame of it distract him, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The joy set before Jesus enabled Him to endure not only the cross and the natural dread throughout the night before the cross but the exasperation and disappointments of personal relationships, the anguish of being slandered, spurned, and betrayed.
It was the joy waiting for Him that kept Him from giving up on His clueless followers, squabbling over which of them would be the greatest in His kingdom. He told them, “Unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you?” and “You have so little faith!” “Could you not watch with me for one hour?” “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!”
He poured out grief over His people, whom He had come to rescue: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me!”
Then, weary and beaten up, He would retreat to a place where He could call Home and have a quiet conversation with His Father, the One in whose presence there is fullness of joy, at whose right hand are pleasures forever. He would spend time in that timeless place and let joy bring balance, restore patience and focus. Joy consoled Him. Joy refreshed Him. He was content to know when His job down here was completed He would be going Home. Home to that joy He had known in eternity.
Those paintings of Jesus on the cross looking dolefully upwards–I think they’ve got it wrong. I think despite all the pain He gazed upward with hope, longing, and anticipation. For the joy set before Him.
Hebrews 12:2; Matthew 17:17; Matthew 16:8; Matthew 26:38; Luke 24:25; Luke 13:34; Psalm 16:11
Originally posted on June 14, 2012