The Joy Set Before Him

Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I have read this verse and made reference to it in many sermons, but there is a phrase we often overlook in reading and quoting this scripture. Jesus faced the ridicule, endured the pain, suffered the hardship and encountered every trouble imaginable with joy. He knew what was coming. He would be beaten, wounded, scarred, spat upon, and nailed to a tree. This was whole purpose:  to die for all of mankind. And He did it all with joy! When facing obstacles, we are to keep our eyes on Jesus, focusing all of our attention on Him. We can only be encouraged, strengthened and motivated when following His example because He went through it all as a result of the joy set before Him. 

Why was there joy set before Him? Because a resurrection was coming. He would conquer death, the penalty of sin. He would strip every principality of its power and authority, putting them to an open shame (Colossians 2:15). It was all worth it in the sight of the Father so we can be called His own. We could be adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High because we could freely receive His love. We no longer have to go through another man, but we can go straight to the throne room of heaven in prayer through the name of Jesus Christ. We can pray in confidence, knowing the Father hears us. We do not have to go to the heart of the earth when we die, but we can spend eternity in the joyous presence of the LORD. We can walk with authority now on earth as it is in heaven. Since Jesus is joyful, we too can be joyful! In His presence there is fulness of joy and at His right hand pleasure forevermore (Psalm 16:11). In spite of any opposition we encounter in this life, we can be baptized with a joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8). So, if Jesus could look forward to the joy that was coming while the weight of the world was literally on His shoulder, then we too can be joyful!