You know what’s crazy? Jesus endured the cross for us. You know what’s even crazier?
He did so
J O Y F U L L Y.
This is something I just can’t get over. No matter how many times I think about it, read about it, talk about it, I am always left in sheer awe of His love.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. | Hebrews 12:1-2
He endured the cross, despite the shame, with JOY. If we sacrificed ourselves for another, would we do it joyfully? Would we joyfully suffer unjustly? Probably not. But He did. Why?
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. | Hebrews 6:17-18
There was a greater purpose for His sacrifice. There was a greater purpose for His joy. He was focused on a bigger picture as He willingly and joyfully took our cross, our shame, our punishment, our death. But why did He do it?
To give us
H O P E.
He endured the cross for the JOY that was set before Him, of setting HOPE before us. And by enduring the cross, He sealed our hope with His blood and guaranteed the “unchangeable character of His purpose.” His blood sealed the oath of the cross.
And because of His victory over death, because He “is seated at the right hand of the throne of God,” we find “strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.” Because He lives, we have reason to hope.
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. | Hebrews 6:19-20
Jesus endured the cross for the JOY of giving us a HOPE that would anchor our souls, even in the roughest seas. In suffering on the cross, Jesus’ desire was to save us. But we see from these verses that His love extends even further than that. His suffering on the cross did more than save us. It blessed us, it strengthened us, it gave us a hope so strong that it could anchor us. In the midst of the chaos, in the midst of the storms, we can rest confident in the anchor that always prevails: the eternal, unfading, imperishable Hope, joyfully offered to us by a Man hanging from a tree.
He suffered for the joy set before Him, of setting a hope before us that we could cling to, rest on, and be anchored in. May we live each day in the knowledge of this Truth. May we seek to trust His bigger plan, the bigger picture. May we joyfully share in the sufferings of Christ so that we might also share this steadfast anchor of Hope to others.
…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… | Hebrews 12:1b-2a
He endured the cross for the joy set before Him, to offer the hope set before us. What is our response? Only this will do: