The following phrase from the Bible has been going through my head this entire Passion Week:
… for the joy set before Him endured the cross …
The verse from Hebrews 12:2 goes like this:
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Another version of that scripture says:
He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
I am no Bible scholar, so in my simple mind I have been wondering … what WAS that joy set before Him? What, besides the fact that He was God, would make anyone endure what He endured? What was the prize?
The verse ends with Jesus sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Could that be the joy He knew was coming?
That after His gargantuan task of taking on Himself the sins of the world – past, present, and future; of dying on a cross and rising again ... after THAT little mission was complete, He would take His place as God of the universe?
Maybe. But somehow I think it was more.
From the time Adam & Eve broke the intimate kinship between themselves and God, God had been making a way to restore that close relationship.
Jesus was the way to accomplish that.
Because of His sacrificial act, each human being from that time forward has been given the choice to accept His gift and become a friend of God. (James 2:23)
What if THAT was the joy set before Him that day?
What if He endured the spitting
because He knew it would restore that intimate companionship?
What if I was the prize?
What if you were?
He is risen!
He is risen indeed.