Bible Reference: Hebrews 12:1-2

Crucifixion was a tortuous and cruel form of death in ancient cultures, and many were subjected to it. Yet, Christ’s crucifixion was unique. When He “endured the cross,” He experienced all of the physical pain and “shame” (Heb. 12:2). But His sufferings were not merely physical.

As Jesus hung on the cross “outside the gate” of Jerusalem, God “laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Heb. 13:12; Isa. 53:6). When Jesus, “Who knew no sin, became sin for us,” God “condemned sin in His flesh” and “crushed” the Lord Jesus under His Holy wrath (2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 53:10; Rom. 8:3). The “Blessed” One “became a curse for us” (Matt. 23:39; Gal. 3:13).

On the cross, God the Son, Who has ever existed in eternal fellowship with God the Father, was forsaken by His Father so that you and I would never be forsaken.

THE JOY THAT SUSTAINED JESUS IN SUFFERING

Although He could have summoned 72,000 angels to His rescue, the Lord Jesus “endured the cross?” How did He continue to faithfully entrust Himself to His Father as He experienced an eternity’s worth of wrath in a few hours of time?

According to Hebrews, Jesus was enabled to remain “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” because of “the joy set before Him” (Phil. 2:8; Heb. 12:2). The future joy of re-entering the unending, undiluted glory of the Triune God, surrounded by His blood-bought bride from every nation and tribe, was the fuel that sustained Jesus to endure His unimaginable sufferings on the cross.

THE PLACE WHERE JESUS SITS

Had the story of Jesus’ sufferings ended with His death, we would have no hope for the forgiveness of our sins, or everlasting life. Make no mistake, the “Prince of Life” truly died. But God also raised Him up again because it was impossible for Him to be held by death’s power (Acts 3:15; 2:24). The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is essential to the gospel.

The future joy of re-entering the unending, undiluted glory of the Triune God, surrounded by His blood-bought bride from every nation and tribe, was the fuel that sustained Jesus to endure His unimaginable sufferings on the cross.

But the story doesn’t end there either. The risen Jesus has been “highly exalted” and “given the Name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). Hebrews tells us that the glorified Jesus “has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:2). No other priest ever sat down in God’s presence because their work was never finished. But Jesus has sanctified His people for all time by His one offering on the cross. The fact that our Lord is seated at the right hand of God’s throne is God’s guarantee that He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him (Heb. 7:25).

This is the Jesus to Whom Hebrews invites us to look, until we finally behold His lovely face (12:2).

 

Jordan Thomas

Jordan is the Preaching Pastor of Grace Church in Memphis, TN where he has served since 2006. You can follow him on twitter @PastorJordan.
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