For the joy before us

Francis

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]
 
Before going to the cross, Jesus prayed for himself and his disciples. In the latter prayer he said these words to his Father, “I’m coming to you now, but I say these things while I’m still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” [John 17:13]
 
What an incredible statement to make! We’re told in Hebrews that Jesus set his eyes on the joy that was his reward for the salvation of mankind. For that reason he endured the agony of the cross. He shrug his shoulders to the shame and the pain and he boldly, although weak in body, ascended to the cross. Now, in his prayer, he was asking that we his followers would focus on that same joy to enable us to endure the unpleasantness of being a Christian in a world where to be a follower of Christ is becoming a shameful taboo. We’re ridiculed as fanatics and hateful people. We’re told to shut up and not declare the truth because someone might get offended. In some quarters we’re even referred to as terrorists. But all these come as no surprise. Jesus warned that there will come a time when anyone who kills a follower of his would believe they are doing the right thing. That’s why it is crucial for Christians to know what they believe and have the full conviction of their confession, so that faced with persecution they would stand firm, shrugging off the shame and the pain. Jesus said that in such times we should look up because his return is near. I pray that we may have confidence to stand and endure to the end because as he once said, how many would be still believing when he returns?

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