My reading this morning brought a huge surprise for me! Let me explain: My morning devotions begin with reading the popular book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, followed by reading her suggested Bible passages. One of today’s passages:
“… 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV)
You know how it is…you can read the same scripture many times and every time you find something new that has a special meaning for you at that time! Today the word “joy” really popped out to me! How was it possible for Jesus to be able to experience “joy” when He was “looking” at the disgrace and pain of the cross that was right before Him?? (Not to mention what He must have gone through with every sin of all the world being on His mind!!) I had to think about that!!!!
David Jeremiah in his commentary for this verse, offered this explanation: “Looking” means ‘to look away from something and to fix your gaze on the right thing’. Christian men and women should look with spiritual eyes beyond their immediate trials, to Jesus the author and finisher of their faith!!!” (The Jeremiah Study Bible page 1762) Now, that really excited me! That’s the answer for me, too!!
Lets back up a little! The previous chapter of the book of Hebrews is Hebrews 11, which is famously called “The Hall of Faith”! This chapter is easy to read and serves as a great list of many of the Old Testament Israelites that “looked forward in faith” to something unseen or unknown!! Their faith was based on believing that God would do what He said He would do, even when it wasn’t seen. In other words; it is not “seeing is believing”!!! I hope you will read Hebrews 11. If you aren’t familiar with the lives of the people, let me help you:
- Abel: Genesis 4: 1-8
- Enoch: Genesis 5: 21-24
- Noah: Genesis 6 – 9
- Lives of Abraham and Sarah: Genesis 12 -25
- The Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph): Genesis 22 – 50
- Moses: Exodus
- Rehab: (Rehab was not an Israelite, but showed faith in her actions) Joshua 1: 1-21; 6: 16-25
- Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah: Judges 4: 6-24; 7: 1-25; 11:1 – 12:7; 13:24 – 16:31.
- David: 1 Samuel 16 -17 (Read 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 Kings 2:1-11)
- Samuel: 1 Samuel 7: 9-14 (Read 1 Samuel 1 – 25)
- and many others
I hope you are able to realize from this reading, that we can find joy no matter what situation we are in! Our joy must be like Jesus’ joy: knowing by faith what is before us in eternity! There are going to be trials and pain and sorrow; but a part of us, our faith, will always be looking forward to what is before us: spending eternity with the Great I Am! The King of Kings! The Lord of Lords! Praise the Name of Jesus!!