Heb 12 1-3 Rejoice in the Cross CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Paul told us to rejoice evermore [1 Thes 5:16]. We have some reasons to rejoice. We should rejoice in the cross. When Jesus went to the cross there was joy set before him. There is a great cloud of witnesses from Heb 11 who are there to encourage us. They suffered for what they believed. Jesus suffered and so shall we. We must endure suffering in our race. Because of the cross:
Jesus now rejoices – Heb 12:2 – “the joy that was set before him.” The cross represents the depth of his suffering that is followed by the height of his glory [1 Pet 1:11]. In Phil 2:8 he humbled himself to the death of the cross and now enjoys a name that is above every name [Phil 2:9-10]. He’s sitting at the right hand of God; his work is done. Through his death, burial and resurrection he led captivity captive [Eph 4:8-10]. Through the same, he’ll destroy the devil [Heb 2:14; Col 2:14-15]. Through the same, he’ll restore Israel [Acts 1:6]. Through the same, nature will be restored [Rom 8:19-23]. Through the same, he will deliver up the kingdom to God [1 Cor 15:24-28]. You talk about joy. We should rejoice in all that God has done through Jesus and will do through him because of the cross. If it weren’t for the cross none of this would be possible.
Heaven can rejoice – Lk 15:7, 10 – there wasn’t much rejoicing going on the day that Jesus died. You must know that the angels were ready at any moment to intervene [Matt 26:53]. As soon as the devil left Jesus alone in the wilderness after his temptation, the angels came and ministered unto him [Matt 4:11]. When the devil and his angels fight in the Tribulation, Michael and his angels will fight and prevail against them [Rev 12:7-9]. But all they could do at the crucifixion is watch. There was a reason. Jesus had to finish his work [Jn 19:30]. And once he rose, the rejoicing began. Now every time a sinner gets saved, there is rejoicing in heaven in the presence of the angels [Lk 15:7, 10]. That’s why the soul winners crown [1 Thes 2:19] is called the crown of rejoicing. If it weren’t for the cross there would be none of this joy.
We can finish with joy – Heb 12:1-3 – The Lord set the example for us. We are encouraged by the cross to lay aside every weight and the sin that besets us and run with patience. When we finish, we are promised that we can enter the joy of the Lord [Matt 25:21, 23] if we suffer with him now [Rom 8:17]. And the depths of our suffering are not comparable to the glory that follows [Rom 8:18]. Paul endured much suffering but never grew weary or fainted [Heb 12:3] because he knew he could finish his course with joy [Acts 20:24]. And finish he did [2 Tim 4:7]. Likewise, we are encouraged to finish our course with joy. If it weren’t for the cross we wouldn’t have this example and this assurance.
Conclusion: the cross was a gruesome way for Jesus to die. But in that cross, there is rejoicing because of the subsequent exaltation of Jesus Christ, the reconciliation of man to God, and the endurance of suffering that is followed by glory. The cross is an encouragement to us to tell others about Jesus and to endure our race without fainting till we finish.