The Joy of the Cross

“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 12:1-2

Today is Good Friday, the day we commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and how He paid the penalty for our sin. We reflect on His great love and how He chose to die so that we might choose to live.

Many times I’ve wondered, Why, Lord? How could you do it? The Bible provides insight into the answer. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus endured intense suffering and an excruciating death because of the joy that was set before Him.

Joy? There’s nothing pleasant about people spitting on you and hurling insults your way. No happiness in having your clothes ripped and back whipped. Nothing fun about nails piercing your skin and thorns pressing into your scalp. However, Jesus wasn’t focused on the horribly painful circumstances of the moment. He was looking ahead to the future, to the joy that was coming.

He saw years into the future, not surprised at all by my unplanned conception. The Lord spoke to my heart in childhood and helped me understand my need to be saved. During my school years, He was faithful even when I wasn’t. He led me to a Christian college where I learned what it really means to be a follower of Christ. He brought a wonderful, godly man from New York City into my life through a mission trip to New Zealand. He then allowed me to marry that man! He blessed us with two precious children. He opened to the door for me to minister to others through my book and blog. And, just this week, He gave me an unexpected opportunity to share His love with the people of El Salvador.

Do I deserve any of it? Absolutely not! Should Jesus have done all of that for me? No way. But, He did because He is good! He died because He didn’t want to be separated from me.He died so I could be free from the hold of sin and transformed into His likeness. He died so I could experience eternal life in Him.

In Jesus’ darkest hours, He thought of me. But, you know what? He was thinking of you, too. He passionately loved you long before the day of your birth. He loved you from the cross.

We were His joy at Golgotha, and we are still His joy today. The Lord takes great delight in us, His most prized creation.

Take time on this special day to remember when the Holy Spirit drew you to salvation. Recall the ways God has provided over the years. Thank Him for His undying devotion for you.

Today is a good day, not because we’re meditating on Jesus’ suffering and death, but good because we’re celebrating what His sacrifice meant for us. Besides, Sunday is coming…

Lord Jesus, I could never thank You enough for dying for my sin. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude. My mind cannot conceive Your great love for me! You have saved me from death and given me life. I praise You!