Since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of 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.
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3, NASB)
Jesus endured unimaginable suffering
physically, emotionally, and spiritually,
not out of obligation,
but “for the joy set before Him” (v.2).
The scripture emphasizes Jesus’ complete humiliation before His enemies
every step of the way.
Crucifixion itself was designed for humiliation, and
the place of crucifixion was chosen for maximum public visibility.
The Jewish leaders, the most “holy” and respectable men of their day,
mocked and ridiculed Him even as He was in the grip of searing pain.
Yet Jesus endured all this “for the joy set before Him”.
He “despised the shame” (v.2).
That means He dismissed all that shame, that humiliation,
as unworthy of consideration.
He faced His trial “for the joy set before Him”.
Remember what Jesus was longing to share with His disciples
only hours before His suffering?
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy made be made full.” (John 15:11, NASB)
All who love and trust Jesus share His remarkable joy.
Our Father graciously gives each believer a precious gift:
He allows us a small share in Christ’s joyful sufferings.
He calls us to give ourselves, to sacrifice ourselves for others.
As I look at the sacrifices that have come into my life –
sacrifices for my wife, my children, and my grandchildren,
for the ministry God has given me –
I find that for the most part, I make those sacrifices,
not out of obligation,
not for glory or gold,
but out of love…out of joy.
I joyfully sacrifice out of
love for my family and friends,
love for my Father, and
love for the beautiful truth He has revealed to me.
Love brings joy, and
I find great joy in helping those I love.
I love God, and
I find great joy in glorifying Him –
in helping people see how great and good and ever-present He is.
Father, give me the heart of Christ.
Fill my life, my service, my every daily activity
with His joyful self-giving.
Help me to live and love and labor every day
for the joy.