How could there be joy set before Him, as Jesus faced His own crucifixion? Today, we are going to be talking about just that! We will be in Hebrews 12:1-3, but we will really concentrate on verse 2. We will be using the NIV and the Amplified Version to give a more thorough picture of this verse.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I wanted to keep verse 2 in its context so I hope you have taken a couple of minutes to read all three verses carefully.
And now, let us fix our eyes on Jesus!
Let’s go to the Verse:
NIV – “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus… “
AMP – “Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus… “
Just like I said a couple of lines up, the writer is saying, “Let’s… ”
I love the word “fix” as it is used here. I’m sure you are familiar with the word “fixative” – it is glue, right? To fix one thing to another is to put it together in a permanent way. This world can be so distracting so we must lock our gaze in on our loving Lord and stay on the path He has put us on.
NIV – “…the author and perfecter of our faith… “
AMP – “…Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher, [bringing it to maturity and perfection]… “
As you see in the Amplified, “author” – Leader and Source – our faith comes from Him. And as “perfecter” – He is the Finisher, so He makes our faith complete. Faith is a gift from God and not only did He gave it to us, He develops it. And He does not stop developing it until it is done. (Philippians 1:3-6)
NIV – “…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross… “
AMP – “…He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross… “
Jesus looked past the agony and humiliation of the cross. He looked past taking all our sin on Himself. He could even look past the fact that because of our sin, He would be separated from the Father, which He had never endured. That separation from the Father would be the worst part of all. What He could see was the joy of pleasing His Father by following His will and redeeming us back from sin and back into fellowship with God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He took great joy this!
NIV – “…scorning its shame… “
AMP – “…despising and ignoring its shame… “
What did Jesus have to ignore?
Basically, Jesus just did not let the shame involved in His crucifixion get to Him. It was not that He was above the shame but He was able to look past it. When shame is just a word on a page it is easy to look past but we need to think about it a little:
Execution by crucifixion was not only horribly torturous, but it was also extremely humiliating and shameful. There was no dignity or honor or respect – they were beaten and hung in agony to suffocate (the position of the arms prevented drawing in breath) – naked, in the sun. In the paintings, they usually have loin clothes on, but they were naked. It generally took hours for them to die because they could push up to get a breath until they were too exhausted or the soldiers broke their legs. The birds would come and take what they wanted of their bodies. The Romans would not allow Roman citizens to be crucified because it was such a horrible degrading process. The Jews believed that one who was “hung on a tree” was cursed by God.
So this Perfect, Sinless Savior went through that and more (crown of thorns, nails instead of ropes, etc.) for us and had the joy of knowing what He was accomplishing. I really do not think that any description we can attempt paints an accurate picture of the agony or the shame of His particular crucifixion, especially considering that He was Perfect Sinless God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth.
But now… He is Back Where He Belongs!
NIV – “…and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
AMP – “…and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I am so thankful that our Lord was willing to go through all that for me and you! Because Adam and Eve sinned, we are born into sin. We are born sinners. We cannot keep God’s law. It is impossible for us as limited humans. According to Romans 6:23, we owe our lives for our sin – not only were we born into sin, but we live actively sinning. No one can say that they have kept God’s law perfectly. Go back to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. Even if I have only told one “white” lie, I have missed the mark of having a sinless life. Only One ever lived a sinless life – that is why He was able to take my place and pay for my sin on that Roman cross.
And after this work on the cross was done, He was raised from the dead and after some days on earth, He ascended back into Heaven where He once more took His rightful place at the Right Hand of His Father.
Things to Ponder:
- Just as Jesus took joy in saving us, we can live in the joy of His salvation. Are you living in that joy that comes from belonging to Him?
- Are your eyes fixed on Jesus? Or are you distracted by all that is going on around you?
- What will it take for you to be able to fix your eyes on Him?
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