For the Joy That Lay Before Him

For the Joy That Lay Before Him


“Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”
– Hebrews 12:2 [HCSB]

I believe many within Christendom are owed an apology. Somebody, somewhere at a certain time, drastically transformed the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and gave it a makeover, removing all its unwanted experiences. Somehow, they got it into their minds that becoming a Christian erases suffering from the human experience and that all becomes a bed of roses. And this they do causing much harm, for they craft a Christianity devoid of peril and paint it as a sequestering of all problems. These “anti-sufferers” illegitimately overemphasize the Gospel’s good news as the end of pain and stoppage of all ills, but this child of God couldn’t be further from the truth. I apologize to you, Christian, if this nonsense has misled you.

Furthermore, the Scriptures reject this sort of “superheroic salvation and comic book Christianity.” All that will live godly shall suffer persecution is a theme seen through the Holy Text and epitomized in the life of Christ that we’re commanded to arm ourselves likewise.

Dear child of God, Christianity does not make all of our problems go away as far as the human experience is concerned. Regardless of the blissful born-again experience, you still have the drudgery of changing tires because of nails and avoiding unsuspecting trip hazards. Yes, you will still feel pain in this life because the sensibilities of our hearts will still register the sting of rejection, the heaviness of disappointment, and the anxiety of regret. Suffering, sadly, is a part of the everyday Christian life as much as a sailor’s contending with the waves of the sea. Jesus came to free us from our sins but did so in anguish and agony. In fact, through His example in suffering, we can find our encouragement and strength to continue despite it. The Apostle Peter says, “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.”

I’m grateful that God did not lie and promise me a life that didn’t match the world I lived in. He didn’t attempt to pull the wool over my eyes or proceed to give me amnesia concerning the type of people and circumstances that exist in this world. Not even His own Son could escape the treachery of humans, for the blessed Lamb of God was betrayed and given into the hands of cruel men. However, it is because of His mistreatment and how He conducted Himself that provides hope and help for me. Because of His discomfort, He can comfort me; for His tears, He can dry mine; for His burden, He can support me. “For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.” – Hebrews 2:18. We receive His care in suffering and are reminded of His character while doing so. We see in Him someone who suffered innocently and without retaliation. He opened not His mouth to defend Himself but instead entrusted Himself to the one who judges justly.

How was He able to perform such a feat? How are we? The Scripture says, “for the joy that was set before Him, He endured a cross and despised the shame.” The joy set before Him was our justification in His blood, and it was either His death or our damnation, and He chose torture and death, obtaining everlasting life for us. Therefore, dear Christian, let us take note and imitate His example with the faith that one day we will see our joy realized in the presence of the Almighty in eternity while exhibiting a Christlike demeanor here on earth.


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