“Calvary is the one objective, absolute, irrefutable proof of God’s love for us.” – Jerry Bridges
Jesus hung on the cross for a long time. In horrible agony, with time slowly passing as the minutes and hours wore on. What he was thinking as he chose to persist, even though he could have called the whole thing off? He was thinking about joy!
Hebrews tells us he endured because of the “joy set before him” – the joy of saving broken humans.
“I’m doing this for Peter though he argued that this wasn’t going to happen. He denied me multiple times last night, but I love him and want him to be with me forever.”
“I’m doing this for Thomas, too, even though he won’t understand right away. What amazing things he will do for my kingdom.”
“Oh, I’m doing this for Mary, whose heart is breaking right now. I can’t wait to let her know the rest of the story.”
It brought him joy to think about those he loved and about those who would come to know him in the centuries after his death and resurrection. Maybe my name came to his mind. Or yours.
We’ll never fully understand what Jesus did for us or why he was willing to do it. But it seems he had such great love for those who would believe that he wouldn’t quit. That’s who he is. He still doesn’t give up. He supports us in our struggle, encourages our faith, responds to our prayers, and stays with us no matter what. And that gives him joy.
“. . . 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.” – Hebrews 12:2