The Joy Set Before Him
What was Jesus experiencing as He walked through His last week on earth?
His beautiful Body was scourged and whipped. This was why He came.
“Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.” – John 19:1
A crown of thorns was forced upon His head. He came for this.
“And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head.” – John 19:2
They spit on the spotless Lamb … they mocked the One who is holds the wisdom of the ages … they beat the One whose lovingkindness will never end.
“They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.” – Matthew 27:30-31
He was hung on a cross between two thieves. His purpose was being fulfilled.
“At that time, two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one of the left.” – Matthew 27:38
His side was pierced. The prophets said it would be like this.
“But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out.” – John 19:34
What was Jesus thinking about when He hung on Calvary’s Cross?
When the pain was excruciating … when the agony was relentless … as the greatest triumphant tragedy in eternity played out … what was on His mind?
Perhaps a better way to phrase that question is this … Who was on His mind?
Let me just submit to you today that I believe that Jesus was thinking about you on that day and that He was thinking about me.
You and I were what kept Him on that cross. You see … He really could have called 10,000 angels to get Him down.
He really could have arranged a miracle and never felt the violent blast of a nail piercing His hands and feet.
The Man Who raised the dead, healed the sick,
cleansed the lepers, forgave the prostitutes,
multiplied food, calmed the storm,
turned water into wine and set the captives free from demons...
… that Man chose to stay on the cross.
That Man named Jesus chose to die.
The Roman government didn’t murder Him.
The Jewish people didn’t crucify Him.
Jesus chose to stay on the cross.
And while He was hanging there … suspended between life and death …
between earth and heaven … between good and evil …
between light and darkness … between His Father and hell …
That man was thinking about you and He was thinking about me.
We kept Him on the cross.
Our sin put Him on the cross but it was His great and consuming love for us that kept Him there.
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5
When Jesus was coughing up blood … you were on His mind.
When Jesus was engulfed in searing pain … He was thinking about you.
When Jesus was struggling for one last breath … His dying thought was of you.
As His eyes were rolling back in His head … He was picturing you.
Not only was He thinking about you … but it was a delight for Him to remember you in this moment.
His thoughts of you didn’t contain regret … sadness … or even frustration. In that moment … you brought Him joy. Pure joy.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us …
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.” – Hebrews 12:1 & 2
I have often wondered, “Jesus, what was the joy that was set before You? What was the joy that you were focused on?”
And the answer that He gave to me was so rich and so rare that it drove me to my knees, “Carol … you are my joy! I was focused on you!”
You were the joy set before Him! I was the joy set before Him!
You were the reason that He stayed on the cross … you were on His mind while He hung there … and you are the reason that the tomb was empty!
Jesus is the Way … the Truth … and the Life. Nothing can stay dead when He shows up. Death couldn’t hold Him and the grave could not keep Him.
He is “Life” with a capital “L”!
Are there dead places in your life that need to be resurrected? Allow Jesus to come to the grave that is your heart and see what happens!
Invite Jesus to enter the dark and dank tomb of your life. A miracle is sure to happen!
When Jesus enters even a crypt … He brings in life … and power … and hope … and light … and strength … and vitality … and love … and peace!
Jesus turns every cemetery into a celebration … and you are invited because He has named you “Joy”!
Happy Easter, my friends! He is risen indeed!
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!