Monday, April 11, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: Why Jesus Christ lived, died and rose again!

The Joy Set Before Him
A devotional by Cyndi Staudt

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 
–Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

For the joy set before him he (Jesus Christ) endured the cross.

I’ve read this verse probably hundreds of times with my focus usually landing on the advice to fix my eyes on Jesus Christ. If I keep my “vertical vision” (as I like to call it), I could potentially walk on water or at least maintain a fairly consistent walk with Jesus. These words stood out to me on my most recent read through the verse. I was stunned as their significance settled in my spirit. At the time of Christ’s greatest struggle, His focus was on the joy set before Him. His focus was on the mission. His focus was on us. But to get to the joy set before Him, He had to be willing to drink the cup of suffering.

For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured brutal beatings and relentless ridicule. He experienced desertion and denial from His closest friends. He suffered rejection and injustice at the hands of those He came to save. Jesus accepted being spat upon and nailed to a tree. He took on the cross and all of the scorn and shame that came with it. We read in the Gospels (books of the Bible) that as they were accusing Him, Jesus stood silent before them and allowed them to hurl their insults and accusations without rebuttal. At any moment He could have called on a legion of angels to rescue Him, but He had a different rescue on His mind—ours.

There was a joy that was constantly before Him, and that joy was us.

It was this joy that strengthened Jesus and drove Him to achieve His Father’s purpose. He saw the end goal. He saw the possibilities. He kept His eyes on the prize and the prize was us. He did it all just to have a shot at spending eternity with us, hoping we would see his sacrifice and accept his incredible offer of salvation. Jesus envisioned multitudes ransomed and redeemed. He didn’t just count the hairs on our head; Jesus counted the cost for our redemption, and He concluded we were worth it. He determined the price He would have to pay was overshadowed by the purpose He came to fulfill. While we are called to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, when He was on the cross, His focus was on us.

In the words of a popular movie, Jesus knew his mission and He chose to accept it. His mission was, and always has been, restoring relationship with His people. When Jesus surrendered His will to God while in the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed fervently to God as he agonized over the intensity of how his life would end, He saw beyond the crucifixion to the coming resurrection. With the weight of the world literally on His shoulders, Jesus conquered death and the penalty of our sin on the cross. His death would strip every principality of its power and authority, publicly shaming them while securing our freedom (Colossians 2:15). 

What was relinquished in the Garden of Eden was redeemed at The Cross. Christ’s victory on The Cross proved that wounded heels can still crush serpents and He is, and always will be, seated on His throne.

Christ’s suffering and love sacrifice secured our salvation and so much more. We have been adopted as sons and daughters of the Most High. The veil was torn from top to bottom, offering us direct access to our Heavenly Father. His sacrifice allows us to approach His throne with confidence (Hebrews 4:16), receiving an endless reservoir of grace and mercy. Our prayers can be offered with the assurance that He hears us and will answer us (1 John 5:14-15). We can walk in authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). Our names have been registered in Heaven and He is holding our reservation.

Friends, we were purchased at a high price for a holy purpose. Jesus chose the unimaginable and endured the unthinkable, so we could have the unbelievable. For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured, so we could enjoy eternity in His presence, where we will find fullness of joy!

Let’s Pray:
Sweet Savior, thank you so much for choosing to go through with your rescue mission, allowing us to have restored relationship with you and experience your redeeming grace. It's humbling to be reminded of all you endured just so we could have a chance to choose whether or not we wanted to accept your astounding offer of salvation. Knowing many would reject your incredible gift and all of us would fall short of your Holy standard repeatedly, You still thought we were worth the cost. Help us to never lose appreciation for Your sacrifice or gratitude for the lengths you were willing to go to rescue us. May we commit to sharing your story with others so they can come to know You and experience your unconditional love, endless grace and redeeming mercy. May we always savor the sweetness of Your salvation, experience peace in Your presence, and find joy in our journey with You! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Note from Alexis: Cyndi’s devotional today reminds me of the song “Just for Me” by Donnie McClurkin. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Cyndi Staudt is a Jesus-loving, adrenaline junkie who is devoted to living her life for Jesus Christ until the day she is living with Him.

With a passion for cultivating a craving for God’s Word, her devotions and Bible studies are saturated with faith and hope to stir your soul to connect with God in deeper, more intimate ways.

Through her writing she hopes to ignite your desire to read God’s Word, invite your heart to experience God’s love, and inspire you to live your live life “souled out” to the One whose love has no limits.

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