October 11 I Friday
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” —Hebrews 12:2
If we are to press on to spiritual maturity, the second direction we need is to look up. Jesus lives within us, but there is a sense in which He is also sitting on the right hand of the Father in heaven. Most would agree that when we look up to the highest possible peak of the universe, we look to Christ.
To grow and mature in the Christian life, we need to live everyday in dependence on Jesus. The writer of Hebrew tells us, “…fix your thoughts on Jesus…” (Hebrews 3:1) and “…fixing our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:2); it follows that the more we know Christ, the more we are going to trust Him. The more we trust Him, the more confident our faith is in Him and the less conscious of it we become. Faith is believing in something that acts on our behalf, and believing in Jesus with all our heart and soul becomes an everyday disposition of faith in Him that we are barely aware of.
Why do we look up to Jesus? Why place our faith in Him? Because as a man on earth, Jesus was oriented towards the future. The writer of Hebrews says, “For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross…” The word “endured” speaks clearly of Christ’s sufferings. He went willingly to the cross, but He did not waltz into it. At the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed three times, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me” (Luke 22:42). In other words, “if there is any other way for men, women, boys and girls to be reconciled to You, let it be that way, but if there is no other way, Your will be done.” We cannot begin to comprehend the agony Christ endured on the cross, not just physically, but the immense spiritual torment of “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). In those hours of darkness, He was made sin for us and the very atmosphere of hell descended on Him.
The Old Testament Prophet Isaiah writes, “After He has suffered, He will see the light of life and be satisfied…” (Isaiah 53:11). The joy set before Christ was looking into the future, seeing generations and centuries of everyone who believes in Him be redeemed, reconciled and restored to life eternal with a Holy God. Why do we live the way we do? By looking up and seeing the joy set before us to share in the glory of Christ with hearts and minds orientated to an everlasting future with Him.
Prayer: Precious Lord, What a blessing and privilege to live a life in Your presence that will never end. Thank You for everything You endured on the cross to make that possible for me.