‘…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…’ Hebrews 12.2
What could have been so wonderful, so joyful, that the Lord was willing to ‘endure the cross’? Really? He willingly withstood what has been considered the most barbaric form of death devised: asphyxiation. Besides that, there was the agony of the scourging; the crushing of the crown of thorns on His head; the nailing of His hands and feet. Our Lord endured all that….for the joy? What joy?
We have some insights in scripture, old and new testament, that help us understand the extent of His compassion which was the motivating force that overcame the terror of the inconceivable agonies of His Cross sacrifice.
‘The LORD has appeared of old unto me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you’. Jeremiah 31:3
‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’. John 3:16
‘But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’. Romans 5:8
‘Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents’. Luke 15:10
God Almighty endures all the rejection, humiliation, betrayal, & agony, for the joy of seeing a lost soul saved – A sinner finding his/her way home! Believers are followers of Christ with the same primary mission of living to lead others to saving faith; to believe, to repent and to find eternal life. Jesus’ example suggests that endurance, suffering and great joy are each very much part of the task of that great mission.