“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
The passage above is not only rich in encouragement, but is also one of Scripture’s most elegant depictions of the life and purpose of Jesus. The “joy set before him” was the reason for which, and the source of strength by which, Jesus persevered in His mission as the suffering Lamb of God who died that we might have life.
Though the joy of purpose and obedience animated and sustained Him, our Savior’s life was by no means easy. He was “despised and rejected” by those He came to save. He was “a man of sorrows,” enduring the hardships of life in a fallen world inhabited by fallen people. Jesus sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. He even prayed for the cup of suffering to be taken from Him, had it been the Father’s will to do so. God’s beloved Son rejoiced in doing His Father’s will, yet the joy of advancing God’s kingdom purposes did not keep Jesus from experiencing times of intense misery.
If existence on this planet was often agonizing for the perfect God-man, it is not surprising that we, His disciples, would also experience times of deep distress. Our consecration to our Lord as “living sacrifices” brings with it inherent hardship and brokenness. At those times, we “fix our eyes on Jesus” remembering that we, too, have been put here to fulfill a mission — to glorify the Lord in all we do. Every word we speak, every transaction we engage in, and every reaction to adversity presents an opportunity to demonstrate the distinctiveness of the Spirit-led life. And our ultimate response to every dilemma is the same as was our Savior’s:
“Not my will, but yours be done.”
Question: Does fulfilling God’s pleasure compel you to endure costly obedience?
Challenge: Be encouraged through adversity by the model of Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, make me part of a “great cloud of witnesses” that will inspire the next generation of Believers.
Arnie Knecht, League Coordinator -- American Association