For the Joy

“Jesus… lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…  I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed…

“‘I ask… for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me…  Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world… I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.'” John 17:1,4-5,20-21,24,26

“Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Jesus knew exactly what He was facing, and what would be the ultimate end. He had prepared His disciples, time and again foretelling His crucifixion and that he would rise again. On the eve of His death, He allowed them to eavesdrop on His heartfelt prayer to the Father for each of them and for all whom the Father had given Him who would believe. It was with this love and knowledge and selfless surrender that he endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. (Luke 9:21-22,43-44; 18:31-33)

What joy? Jesus knew what joy awaited. He would return to his Father, to share once again their heavenly glory. He would bring to completion what He had been sent to earth to accomplish. His death and resurrection would open the way for salvation. And O, the joy of bringing into the eternal fold every single one God had given Him, to know who He was and why He had come, to know oneness with Christ and the hope of glory. This joy compelled Jesus to pray with sweat drops of blood, “Not My will but Thine be done.” (Luke 22:42-44; Colossians 1:27)

How grateful we should be that Jesus followed through on His divine mission, that He finished His work on behalf of His Father’s glory and will, and with us in mind! How does this thought of His eternal love and steadfast commitment broaden our view of God’s redemptive plan? How does it deepen our love for our suffering Savior? (Isaiah 53:4-7; Luke 9:51)

How willing are we to obey, even when it is hard, for the joy of pleasing and honoring our King? How humbly and readily do we serve, even when it is costly, for the joy and comfort of others? Taking the long view in temporal situations opens the way to joyous life.

Lord, thank You for enduring the cross. Help me go about every day and duty for the joy of exalting and magnifying Your glory.

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