THE CRAZINESS OF THE CROSS
I just read a crazy verse in the Bible. No, I’m serious. It’s really out there…in left field somewhere.
It’s a long sentence so bear with the writer of Hebrews here. Check it out: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).
Did you see it? Read it again. There’s a crazy part in there. The first part of the verse is fine. It’s the middle part that really throws me for a loop.
Jesus…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross. Wait…what? “Joy” and “endured the cross” are in the same sentence? That’s messed up. That’s crazy. Jesus found joy in the cross? How could that be? Hadn’t He just a day or so prior begged God not to have to go through with it? Not once, not twice, but three times Jesus prayed for anything but the cross. So…what’s the catch?
Why in the world did the writer of Hebrews say “for the joy set before Him endured the cross…”? Why does the Bible have such a crazy statement? Why would there be any joy awaiting someone who was about to go through one of the worst forms of execution ever? That sounds really messed up to me. That sounds borderline masochistic. So…what’s the catch?
What I’m about to say is beyond comprehension. But here’s the deal…YOU are the catch! YOU are the joy. YOU are the reason Jesus endured the cross. YOU made the whole thing worth it for Him. Yes…YOU! Hard to believe, isn’t it? Hard to make sense of. But it’s the truth.
If we could “alter” the Scripture, it might read something like this:
- “Jesus…who for the joy (of loving YOU for who you are) endured the cross…”
- “Jesus…who for the joy (of redeeming YOU) endured the cross…”
- “Jesus…who for the joy (of saving YOU from yourself) endured the cross…”
- “Jesus…who for the joy (of knowing YOU personally) endured the cross…”
- “Jesus…who for the joy (of having a personal relationship with YOU) endured the cross…”
- “Jesus…who for the joy (of spending an eternity with YOU) endured the cross…”
Like I said, hard to fathom, but it’s true. That’s why the writer of Hebrews wrote that crazy verse. He knew that he was the catch as well. He knew that he was the joy as well. He knew that he was the reason Jesus endured the cross.
It’s Good Friday. The cross of Christ was ugly, painful, and empty. But it was good. It had meaning and purpose that would transcend time. And somewhere in all that meaning and purpose is YOU. You’re part of the plan.
YOU are the catch. YOU are the joy. YOU are the reason Jesus endured the cross.
Therefore, let us fix our eyes on Jesus…