What was the joy?
Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne. | Hebrews 12:2b (NLT)
Vision is important. Ask any CEO and they will tell you just how important to the life of an organisation vision is. Companies spend millions of pounds and thousands of hours trying to determine and define vision.
Vision inspires hearts and minds (or not)
Vision unites people (or not)
Vision aligns efforts (or not)
Vision fosters passion and commitment (or not).
A compelling vision - a desired goal - brings clarity of focus that causes organisations to push through painful changes, make tough decisions and ruthlessly eliminate aspects of their work that get in the way of progressing towards the vision.
Jesus was a visionary.
His descent to earth was not arbitrary or in any way random. We know that the Son of man came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19), and this whole mission was accompanied by a laser like focus on a future reality, a compelling vision.
What was this compelling vision that caused Jesus, the second Person of the Godhead, to leave the glory and splendour of heaven and descend to earth? What was the reason for his persistence in public ministry despite opposition? What was the thing that motivated him to press on despite the anguish of Gethsemane?
It was an awareness of the joy that was set before him. There are numerous dimensions to the joy that was set before Jesus, but let us consider just one of them for now.
The joy that was before him was an awareness of yours and my eternal salvation. Part of the compelling vision which motivated Jesus, alongside the delight of obedience and bringing glory to the father, was that he knew that what he was doing would bring many sons and daughters to glory. His persistence in obedience, his surrendering his life up to death on the cross, his resurrection and his ascension would secure for those who believe an eternal destiny.
Part of the compelling vision that Jesus had was the reality of you and me worshipping the father in heaven for all of eternity. Therefore with that desired goal fixed firmly in his heart, he could endure the cross. He could despise its shame. He could persist and encounter the humiliation and degradation of a sinner’s death which he did not deserve.
As we consider this, a challenge arises to us. Will we, gripped by a vision of our eternal delight in the presence of the father, endure hardship rejection, suffering on account of Christ?
Will you, today, allow the Spirit to stir your heart with such deep affection for Jesus that the prospect of an eternity with him is so compelling that is nothing is permitted to cut across you or derail you?
Let it be so, Lord.