“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, AV)
For many of us, our first reaction to injustices committed against us is retaliation. “Oh, I’ll get even with him!” And, I’ll be honest with you. In my life time, I have reacted poorly to people who have injured me. I am not speaking of physical injury, but verbal accusations that I felt were unwarranted, whether they were or not. This is a form of suffering that we must endure in life. In the last devotion, we concluded with the thought of keeping your eyes on Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith.” Jesus is the greatest example to us when it comes to staying steadfast in the faith for, He endured the cross.
Jesus demonstrates how one should respond by faith to the struggles and temptations of life. The author of Hebrews indicates that Jesus endured the cross for the “joy set before him.” Jesus always set His eyes on the goal. He never wavered from the purposes of God.
I do believe that the greatest temptation that Jesus endured was the cross. He understood the pain and suffering. It was not just the physical pain that He endured. The greater suffering was in carrying the guilt of the sin of the world on Himself. It may be difficult for us to imagine, but Jesus had never sinned and therefor, never felt the guilt for transgressing the law of God. Yet, on the cross He bore our guilt and sorrows (Isa 53:4-6). He carried the weight of every sin of everyone who ever lived and would live on Himself. He paid the complete penalty of sin for all. Prior to the cross, He had never been separated from the Father, but when He bore our sin, it for the first time separated Him from the Father whom He loved.
The greatest temptation would have been for Jesus to use His divine power to deliver Himself from the cross. He could have called upon a legion of angels to deliver himself, but He did not. Why? Because for the joy set before him, He endured the cross, despising the shame. He set the example for us. He kept His eyes on the goal.
We will experience struggles with suffering and temptations in this life. Yet, we can endure by keeping our eyes on the goal, that is Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. The author of Hebrews writes, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:4, AV). None of us have resisted sin to the extent that Jesus did and He dwells in us by His Spirit. We should work to resist sins temptations and can only do so by faith, keeping our eyes on Jesus.