Recently I have been pondering, or to use a church word, meditating on a verse in scripture. It has given me much to think about, and recently have come to a deeper understanding. The verse is found in Hebrews chapter 12 and verse 2. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This is not a new verse for me at all. Many times I have read it. And it has been the content of many, many sermons. And for many reasons. First would be that we are to keep our eyes on Jesus. That is the most evident part. Only through Him can we properly exercise our faith. Secondly would be that our faith is started and finished in Him. And it is combined with another verse that basically states that what Jesus has started He will bring to completion. Which is a most important truth.
But recently I have been reading on what it means to be a Christian, and biblically what is entailed in this life we are to live. And have been reminded that God is never disappointed in His children, and deeply loves each of us. Now I know how much God loves us because I have personally encountered that love. And let me tell you it is amazing. There are not words to describe how immense and intense the love of God is for each one of us, and God has reminded me of that fact. And He used this verse.
He simply showed me one simple phrase that has gotten me to ponder deeply. “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.” Now for years I had thought that this joy was that He was seated at the right hand of God, as the verse continues to say. But that is not what it means at all. Because that was something He had already. Philippians 2:5-8 says “Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.” Jesus was already God and became a man to suffer and die in our place, and was then raised again and is seated forever at God’s right hand. So this could not be the “joy that was set before Him”
And so I have pondered this question. What was the joy that allowed Him to endure the cross. The most incredibly horrible way that man has conceived to kill another still to this day. And then God began to join together the scriptures I was reading and studying, with the books I was reading, and brought it all together with my relationship with Him and opened my heart to understand. Simply put the joy was you and I. Nothing more or less. The joy was simply that He would again be able to have a relationship with the part of His creation that He loved so intensely and that He had been separated from. What an amazing God. You and I were considered worth the agony of the cross. And you and I allowed Jesus to suffer what He suffered. Oh that we could truly understand exactly how precious and loved we truly are.