For the Joy That Lay Before Him
What is the most commonly recognized Christian symbol?
8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus’ coming to die for us shows us His love for us!
12 “This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
This was not easy for Jesus. let’s look at the night before his crucifixion.
He told His disciples that that night he would be betrayed.
21 While they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 Deeply distressed, each one began to say to him, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 He replied, “The one who dipped his hand with me in the bowl—he will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born.” 25 Judas, his betrayer, replied, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” “You have said it,” he told him. 26 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “Tonight all of you will fall away because of me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. 32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” 33 Peter told him, “Even if everyone falls away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 “Even if I have to die with you,” Peter told him, “I will never deny you,” and all the disciples said the same thing. 36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. He asked Peter, “So, couldn’t you stay awake with me one hour? 41 Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, a second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And he came again and found them sleeping, because they could not keep their eyes open. 44 After leaving them, he went away again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? See, the time is near. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Get up; let’s go. See, my betrayer is near.”
What gave Him the strength to endure the cross? The Joy of eternity with us together as a family.
1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So we too are told we will suffer as well.
9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. 10 Then many will fall away, betray one another, and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
But we are told to consider it a blessing and to have joy when we are persecuted.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
And James said
2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
And Jesus said:
33 I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
Paul told the Philippians:
29 For it has been granted to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,
And John instructed us that we too are to do the same for each other.
16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
God is willing to suffer greatly for those He loves — He calls us to do the same