observation on joy . . .
I’m Happy when I earn a free treat on my Starbucks card, but I’m filled with deep joy when I sit with a close friend, separated only by a warm cup of coffee. For me, nothing creates a greater safe-zone for sharing the secrets of the heart.
I was happy when the girl who caught my eye said “yes” to a first date, but after thirty years of marriage, my heart is filled with deep joy every time I think of her. Our shared experiences, both good and challenging, bring a depth of joy that is impossible to express.
Why was Jesus willing to endure the cross? I don’t even want to endure a bee sting for a friend, let alone an enemy. The writer of Hebrews exposes the motive of Jesus’ heart; He was willing to endure the cross “for the joy that was set before Him.” What joy? Humiliation, pain, mocking, scourging, and a criminal’s death for the only one who did not deserve to die? No – His joy was focused on the other side of the cross.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the author of Hebrews writes that Jesus, “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.”* What was the source of Jesus’ joy as He endured the cross? You were. Better than the best cup of coffee, better than your closest friendship, better than your first love. His ultimate pain and suffering was leading to a life of abiding with you. His joy is found in knowing you. When He was on the cross, you were on His mind.
The joy that was set before Him on the cross is that we might know Him. He was willing to endure the cross that we might enter into a love relationship with Him. Jesus said “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
The greatest possible joy is to be reunited with our Creator; to enter in to His joy and abide in His love. Nothing else compares. Nothing else lasts. C. S. Lewis put it this way:
“We are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The Weight of Glory
We are never alone when we live in the joy of knowing Him,