Hebrews 12:1-2 "Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 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."
The Christian life is compared to a race in this passage. We must lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us. We must patiently run the race that is set before us. This tells us that as we face life we have a destination, for every race has a finish line. Our 'finish line' is our Father's house, the New Heavens and the New Earth where we will dwell with our Saviour forever. This will not be boring for 'at His right hand are pleasures forevermore ' and 'in His presence is fullness of joy'.
As we go through life we look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Note His motivation for bearing our sins on the cross. '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'. This fits well with His prayer in John 17 where He asks His Father to 'restore to me the glory I had with you before the world was'. It also says in Hebrews that God anointed Him 'with the oil of gladness above all your fellows'.
We see that our Lord was led by the joy set before Him to endure the cross even though He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
(Originally printed in the church bulletin March 8, 2015)