Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
— Hebrews 12:2
Right now believers on every continent of the world are preparing for the Easter season — one of the three biggest annual Christian holidays, with the other being Pentecost and Christmas. Regardless of where you live, Christians will be celebrating Easter and singing jubilant songs that commemorate the resurrection of Christ.
But before there was a resurrection, there was first the Cross. There could be no resurrection without the Cross that preceded it, and that Cross represents the most horrible event Jesus could have ever endured. Yet He endured it all without complaint — for you, for me, and for all who would later come to repentance.
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Have you ever felt that you were thrust into a situation that you didn’t ask for or didn’t desire? Did you find that there was nothing you could do to escape it? How did you deal with the situation? How did you endure it? If that is a description of how you are feeling about life right now, then pay close attention to today’s Sparkling Gem, because as you will see, this is precisely how Jesus felt when He hung on the Cross.
Jesus lived a pure, sinless life. If there was ever anyone born on this earth who didn’t deserve the Cross, it was Jesus. However, it was part of God’s plan for Him to procure the salvation that today we gloriously and freely possess!
Jesus accepted His assignment, but the Bible plainly tells us that He did not relish the experience. He had to set Himself to “endure” it as a part of the assignment the Father had entrusted to Him. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This verse makes it abundantly clear that Jesus “endured” and “despised” the Cross. In yesterday’s Sparkling Gem, we discussed what it meant for Jesus when the Bible says He “endured” the Cross. However, today I want to take that discussion further.
As we saw yesterday, the word “endured” is a translation of the Greek word hupomeno, which is a compound of the words hupo and meno. The word hupo means under, and the word meno means to abide or to stay. When the two are compounded, the new word portrays a person who is under some type of incredibly heavy load but who refuses to stray from his position because he is committed to his task. Regardless of the load, opposition, stress, or weight that comes against him, he is not going to move. He is going to stay put in his spot and not surrender it to anyone for any reason!
That word “endured” tells us emphatically that Jesus refused to stray from His position. If He had wished, He could have called upon 12 legions of angels to deliver Him and destroy His enemies (see Matthew 26:53), but He refrained because the Cross was the path of redemption that the Father had entrusted into His hands. His experience on the Cross was unimaginably horrific, yet it was the necessary price to be paid for the forgiveness of sin. If Jesus had shirked His responsibility and refused to accept the Cross as a part of His divine calling, then you and I would still be bound by our sin today.
I’ve never hung on a cross as Jesus did, and I can’t even imagine the thought of it. However, there have been times when God has asked me to endure some very hard things that I could escape only by disobeying His instructions. Regardless of how difficult it was to be obedient, I had to keep my eyes fixed on the prize before me and endure the moment. And one thing I have found to be sure: On the path of obedience, difficult or painful moments eventually come to a conclusion — and when they do, resurrection and exaltation follow.
You may be enduring a difficult situation right now because God has called you to do a certain task. Or perhaps there is no other way out but to go through a situation rather than run the other way. Regardless, I encourage you to focus on the example of Jesus and learn from Him. He utterly despised the Cross; yet He endured it nevertheless as a necessary part of His assignment to procure our salvation. This may not sound like something that makes you want to shout. But when you endure to the end and accomplish your divine mission, I promise you’ll be thankful that you did not throw in the towel earlier when you were tempted to give up.
I want to encourage you today to lift your eyes and set them on the goal before you. God’s plan is not that you remain in this difficult place forever. His plan for you is a place of victory and resurrection! For a season — and only God knows how long that season is — you may be called to simply endure. But if you know you’re where you’re supposed to be, simply embrace the opportunity to trust God in the midst of it all and refuse to let any person or any devil from hell move you out of position! With God’s power, you can stay in the right place and get the job accomplished that Jesus has asked you to do!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I look to Jesus in all things as my Example of how to live and to walk in a manner that is pleasing to You. Jesus endured the Cross for me and remained committed to His task without weakening beneath the weight of all that opposed Him. Because Jesus refused to abandon Your plan, even when it cost Him greatly, I will not run from my responsibility to obey Your plan for me, despite the difficulty of what I am facing. I draw upon the power of His might to declare that although I may feel weak, I am strong in Him. Just as Jesus endured His Cross, knowing that it was crucial to His obedience to and fulfillment of God’s divine plan, I take up my cross and follow Him — knowing that as I endure to the end, I will see the salvation of the Lord on my behalf.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that no temptation is beyond my ability to resist it and no trial can come to me that is not common to man or beyond what I can endure. But God is faithful to His Word and to His own compassionate nature. He is at work in me, creating both the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him. I know and trust that He will not allow me to be pressed beyond the measure of my ability and my power to endure so that I can bear up under it patiently. I let patience have its perfect work in me so I can come out on the other side of this situation strong in character and in spirit, lacking nothing.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you recall a time when you were called upon to do something very difficult that your flesh didn’t want to do, but you knew it was God’s will for you to endure it and stay there regardless of how tough it felt at the time?
- When you look back at that difficult moment, I am sure you had times when you didn’t know if you could endure it. What do you think would have happened if you had quit and thrown in the towel? What would have been the result of caving in to that temptation?
- Do you know individuals who are exactly where they are supposed to be and doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, yet that place and time is accompanied with hardship? What can you say or do to encourage them to remain faithful in spite of the temporary hardness?