“We look to Jesus, Who is the author and finisher of our faith; Who, because of the joy that He saw before Him as He hung dying upon the cross, endured the suffering of that cross, thinking less of the shame of it than He did of the joy that He was seeing; and because of this, He now sits at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
God’s Word tells us that, as Jesus hung in torment and travail upon the cross, there was “a joy” that was placed in front of Him to see, a joy that would so move Him that He would purpose to see the sacrifice of His own life through to the finish in perfection.
When we read in God’s Word of the nature of Jesus’ crucifixion – of how He was beaten more than any man had been beaten before, of how He could look down and see all of His bones because the flesh had been whipped away from His body, of how He was so badly misshapen from His torture that when He was finally raised up upon that cross one could no longer tell that He that He was a man – we are forced to consider a question; “What could possibly be so compelling to Jesus that He would consider it to be ‘a joy’ that would spur Him on to obedience unto death?”
We find the answer to that question in Isaiah 53:10, which tells us, “Yet God knew that it was necessary that Christ would die for the sins of the world; it was for this reason alone that He allowed Him to be put through such grief: but at the very moment when Christ’s soul was made an offering for those sins, Christ saw before Him all those who would become God’s children through His death; and because of this, He became the embodiment of God’s life eternal, and the will of God will prosper forever in His hand.”
Even though our perfect and holy God, in Whose presence sin cannot exist, had to turn His face away from His Son Jesus at the moment that all of the sins of the world were placed upon Him as He hung upon the cross, in His great love and mercy for Christ and us, as well, He left something behind for Jesus to see.
Us, the ones who would one day recognize our sinfulness, and believe that a loving Heavenly Father had provided a way for us to be forgiven of those sins, to come into a right relationship with Him, and one day experience eternal life through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
I cannot in words express what I feel within me when I consider that, at that moment upon the cross, Christ saw before Him my face, and perhaps yours, too?, in the midst of an ocean of people who would come to faith in God through His sacrifice. He saw the faces of the faithful, and considered, “It is all worth it.”
Though we do not deserve it, God, through Christ Jesus, has made us worth-y to receive the gift of salvation, if we will believe that Christ is the Son of God, that He lived a sinless life, that He died upon the cross for our sins, that He was raised from the dead after three days and three nights by God, that He ascended to Heaven where He now sits upon the right hand of God, and that He will one day return to gather up God’s faithful children to enter in to eternal life together with Him and each other.
If we believe these things, then our proper response is to pray to God that we might be forgiven through the death of Christ for the sins of our past, that we would repent (turn away from) those and any other sins, and that we would receive the gift of God’s Spirit which makes us His children and transforms us daily to become more and more like His Son, Christ Jesus.
Do you truly believe these things?
Then pray these things in your own words, and make that life-changing, eternity-altering commitment to Christ Jesus today.
The writer is a bishop in The International Church Network, a network of 400-500 churches in North America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.