fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (Hebrews 12:2)
On this Good Friday, as we contemplate the breadth and depth of our Lord's sacrifice for us, I find these words of special comfort. Jesus fully knew the extent of the agony his death by crucifixion would entail. He knew what the physical pain of the cross would be. He knew what the spiritual pain of separation from His Father, even temporarily, would be. Scripture uses the word anguish to describe Jesus' state at the very thought of what was to come. His distress was such that we are told that his sweat filled with drops of blood, and he begged his Father “Abba...everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me." (Mark 14:36). Indeed Jesus knew what was to come. Jesus had a choice in whether he would lay down His life in such a way and out of His great love for us He did, buying our redemption. What I find comforting about this passage is the idea that the joy of heaven to come made this suffering possible, even worthwhile for Jesus. The key for me is that Jesus had full knowledge of not just the anguish of His death, but of heaven on the other side of that death. We have to take it on faith that the joy of heaven will eclipse all our earthly suffering but Jesus did not. Jesus was with God from the foundation of the world. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3 NIV) Jesus had full knowledge of what heaven would be and according to this passage, the prospect of that joy was worth the suffering he would endure for our sakes. If Jesus, who had personal knowledge of both sides of the equation chose God's will for Himself, surely we can trust His divine judgement and follow him through our own crosses to the eternal life He has bought for us.
Prayer for today: Jesus, we love You and are so humbled and grateful for the sacrifice You made to pay our debt! On this holy day, keep us mindful of both Your sacrifice and the joy You have bought for us. We ask in Your name. AMEN!
Confession for today: I confess that though I am weak and unworthy, Christ has paid for my sins and I am no more a slave to them. I will chose to follow Him, empowered by His Holy Spirit indwelling me, through whatever challenges this life may bring, anticipating as He did, the glorious joy awaiting me in the next. AMEN!