“who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the righthand of God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:2
The Christian life is to be a life of joy. Yet the living of this life brings circumstances that are less than joyful and many times are downright depressing. How do we find joy in this turmoil? And how do we maintain it? Looking to Jesus and learning from our great cloud of witnesses should help us.
who for the joy that lay before Him
Jesus had a mission to bring glory to the Father by dying on the cross for us. His mission entailed leaving the glories of heaven for the cruel, crude realities of earth. He was misunderstood and misrepresented, and eventually mocked, beaten, whipped, and crucified. Yet these circumstances contained joy. How?
Jesus’ joy came from bringing glory to the Heavenly Father not in circumstantial comfort or advancement. Jesus’ joy was rooted in the eternal not the temporal. Jesus’ joy focused on spiritual realities not fleshy remedies. Jesus’ joy was about His relationship with the Heavenly Father and the opportunity to bring us into that.
Joy is what we delight in or take pleasure in. Sadly, most of us only know joy in worldly things. When life goes right, feels good, and works out for us then we feel joy; but we miss the greater joy and the bigger picture
The bigger picture is God’s glory. We have reduced God to an impersonal force or some superhuman being who is at our beck and call or an irrelevant religious object, but God is not to be treated like that. God has created us and the universe we live in. God has loved us with a deep and sacrificial love. God desires our friendship, so much, that He has communicated His ways and provided a way to Him. God is far beyond our comprehension yet He has revealed Himself in ways we can understand.
God is what our life is all about. Knowing God should bring us joy and knowing that He has a plan to make us more like Him so that we can live with Him should make us ecstatic. This life is where God is doing this, making us more like Him through our experiences.
endured a cross
Jesus went to the cross with all of its pain and terror. He did this with the joy of what would come from it. He did it to reconcile us to Him. Like a mother struggles through the pain of labor for the joy of holding her baby, we can struggle through the “crosses” of this life for the joy of being nearer to God.
despised the shame
Jesus thought less of the curse, other’s opinions, or cultural taboo than the glory of our salvation. Galatians 3:13 speaks of the curse of hanging on a tree… Jesus did that. Why? Jesus “despised” or “thought less of” what shame he would experience in comparison to glorifying His Heavenly Father. Many times we highly value the shame or taboo over obedience to God and in doing so, we despise God and His love.
Think of the “shames” or ridicule that we put greater value on than obedience and boldness for the gospel…
Jesus faced greater shame than we will ever know but always kept God’s glory greater than that shame.
has sat down at the righthand of God’s throne
This should bring to mind the word RESTORATION. Jesus was restored to:
His rightful place in heaven
His relationship with the Father
His completed work to restore us to God
Jesus did what He did to do a specific work…
1. He pleased the Heavenly Father
2. He worked out the way for our salvation
3. He brought restoration
We must first receive and believe this then we can follow His example…
1. Live in joy by living to please the Heavenly Father
2. Live in joy by sharing the gospel message with others
3. Live in joy by hoping in our day of complete restoration or glorification
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:18-23