Hebrews 12:1-2 has to be one of the most inspiring passages for faithfulness in the Bible. Here we have a description of Christ the champion who has overcome the cross and now is seated as a victor at the right hand of God. The imagery of the athletic events in those days is described in such detail that we could apply them to sports events today.
The crowds in the stands are pictured as a great cloud of witnesses. They are the saints as described in chapter 11. They also have endured their race by faith and now cheer us on. Any weight that would keep us from competing to our fullest capacity in these events (this life of trial) must be cast aside. Throw aside anything that would entangle us in order that we may run, bicycle, or even fly our straightest and fastest.
We look to Jesus who endured that cross for the joy set before Him. So many times we want to focus on that phrase “the joy set before Him”. Yet there is another phrase here that is equally important. While Jesus had joy throughout His rejection and crucifixion, there was also shame involved which He utterly despised. Jesus did not enjoy the shame which He had to endure. He despised it.
Sometimes in trials and tribulations, we see no joy set before us. We do not have the same foresight as Jesus. Jesus looked to the future joy that He would one day experience. We cannot do that. But we can exercise faith in that there will be a future joy. While we exercise faith that there will be joy at the end of it all, we can also follow the example of Jesus and despise the shame.
This is not to say that we despise other people or God. We are called to love God and others. What we look down upon is the shame associated with sin and its consequences. Yet we still must follow the example of Christ. He despised the shame in enduring the cross, yet He did not grumble, argue, or answer back with sarcasm. His example stands supreme, because He is the supreme Victor over all sin. He despised the shame, yet did not sin.
Read through the crucifixion story again, and see how Christ loathed what He had to endure. Yet He did it uncomplainingly. Even after the fact He did nothing to make anyone feel guilty about what He willingly endured. There is no “Look what I did for you, I hope you are grateful for my sacrifice.” Even after offering up His own life as a sacrifice, after His blood flowed out from His body, and after the last bit of life left His body, He simply committed Himself into His Father’s hands. He waited for His Father to vindicate Him and accept the offering.
So in your trial, in my trial, let us look to Jesus. By faith He had a joy that was set before Him. He endured the cross. He despised the shame. So endure your trial. You may not see the joy, but you will experience it one day. While you are enduring, don’t forget to despise the shame.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman