When I read this last section, it reminds me a bit of what a women goes through when she gives birth. Yes, delivering a baby is much milder than dying on a cross. But there is something about what Christ went through for us that is reminiscent of labor and childbirth.
Even in this age of epidurals, labor can hardly be described as a painless process. Yet to any mother who has told her birth story, even with serious complications, she would do it again for the child she has.
For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross
So when Jesus went to the cross, was it with a sense of dread and fear? Certainly, He asked the Father if there was any other way to do this. He obviously didn’t want to go through this hideous process if another way would be just as effective. But I think He knew the answer.
As moms, we enter our labors with a certain sense of dread too, don’t we? We rarely know when it will start, what it will be like, how long it will last, if there will be any problems, etc.
He despised the shame
Jesus knew much more about the horror of what He was walking into. Yet, this passage talks about His seeing the joy ahead that helped Him endure the cross and all of its horror and agony…enough that He was able to despise the shame of it all. WOW!
- The shame of the beatings,
- being deserted by his close friends,
- being betrayed by one of them,
- being hung on a cross naked for all the world to see,
- and a host of other shames that took place that weeked.
He despised each one.
Then, slightly earlier, it talks about Jesus being the founder and perfecter of our faith. So he starts it on the cross…then He completes it too!
My growth in grace is the work of GOD from beginning to end
It is a reminder of Philippians 1:6 ESV. The christian life is not all up to me, my sanctification isn’t all up to me...it is all the work GOD is doing in my life. I certainly need to cooperate with what He is doing, but too often, I seem to feel the burden of it all is up to me. That just isn’t so.
GOD is working to change me from the inside out. He is changing my heart and bringing things into my life to make me more like Jesus. I often don’t recognize them as such, but that is what He is doing.
So as we look at this passage again, what do we see? The work Jesus did on the cross has been completed. Jesus is now in heaven and seated. The work of paying the penalty for sin is done. The work of providing a perfect reconrd for me is done. Christ put His perfect record on my account and took my record and paid for it…providing for me a righteous standing before a holy GOD.
What more can I do but be thankful to this GOD who made provision for me…someone who was as helpless as a baby to work out my own salvation.
Thanks be to GOD.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus,
the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who 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.