Hebrews 12:2-3, ‘ 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.’
Praise the Lord.
Life becomes very hard when we cannot see things beyond obstacles. Every believer has a hurdle and a speed breaker to cross, but the only one component that helps him to cross all these is his faith in God. Faith shows us the things beyond obstacles, which makes it easy to cross the hurdles. Jesus laid a perfect example for all of us. If you are discouraged, look unto Him who endured everything that came in front of Him. You may not able to answer every hurdle like questions that come before you, but if you cry to God, He will give you the grace to endure. Sufferings and persecutions are like waves. They come and go. They don’t have legs. But if you have faith in God you will stand still, even if the waves overflow you.
Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame because of the joy that was set before Him. Is there any joy in the cross? Certainly not! Then what made Jesus endure and despise all the shame that was spoken against Him ? Hebrews 2:10, ‘ For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.’ The joy that was set before Jesus was bringing many sons to glory. For that everlasting joy and salvation of mankind, He endured the light affliction of the cross. He did not focus on the pain on the cross. Instead , He focused mankind. Jesus came in to the world to save the mankind from the horrible pit of sin and to give him back the lost glory . So instead of looking into the sufferings, Jesus looked unto the will of Father. There is a joy set beyond every cross that comes before you. In order to have that joy, you need to look beyond the cross with eyes of faith. Israelites walked in the wilderness for 40 years. Many grumbled and fell short of entering the promised land. But the few who saw the promised land in the wilderness, entered it joyfully. While we are in wilderness, we need to see the promised land. The life of wilderness will be easy when we look unto the promised land. Our eyes must be tuned to the promised land, even though we walk in the wilderness. Have you noticed a radio ? Even though it is in our living room, it is not influenced by any thing around it. It’s because it is tuned to a certain station and it speaks what it receives from that station. This must be our attitude. Even though we are in this tent ( body ), our heart should be tuned to heaven and our tongues should speak what we receive from heaven. When we receive from heaven, we will think and speak about heaven, which we see in faith and which is kept for us by the captain of our salvation. Hebrews 11:13-16 ‘…These all died in faith, not having received the promises but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. and truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out they would have had oppurtunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God. For He has prepared a city for them.’ We must confess that we are strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Even though we live on this earth, we should not posses anything, because our possesion is in heaven. Can you say about anything that you really possess on this earth – money, house , job etc? We have no possessions here because our inheritance is in heaven. Since they sought heavenly possession, they put their heart on that heavenly country, and concluded that what they saw was just temporary. And what they could not see was permanent. They all walked by faith and not by sight. A person who does these things will see beyond the sufferings which is for fraction of seconds when compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. Paul speaks this in a terrific way. He says that present time sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us. We need to compare the ‘shortness’ of the present time with the ‘longevity’ of eternity and ‘sufferings’ with the ‘glory of God’ that will be revealed in last days. When we do that, we will also be able to say like Paul that present time sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the eternal glory. In another part, he says that our light affliction is for a moment. II Corinthians 4:17 -18, ‘ For our light affliction which is but for a moment is working for us far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporary but the things which are not seen are eternal.’
Let us see how Paul considered the sufferings :
‘Light’ affliction when compared to the ‘weight’ of the glory ( II Cori 4:17)
‘Momentary’ sufferings when compared to the ‘eternal’ glory.
‘Not worthy’ to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in end times.
Paul had suffered a lot for the sake of Christ. He went through fire and water but he reckoned all these tests as light and momentary, because he received the revelation of greater riches that is in Jesus Christ. If we want to see beyond sufferings, we need to have knowledge about the riches that is kept beyond the present sufferings. None of us can despise present shame if we do not have the knowledge of honor we will receive.
Faith is the real component for looking beyond the sufferings. But with faith, we must also have knowledge about what “suffering” really means. In today’s Christendom, we find many teachings that say that sufferings are a curse, and so many of them are busy breaking this. Very few really teaches about sufferings of a believer. Off course, I am not talking about the sufferings that are caused because of one’s mistakes . I am talking about the sufferings for the sake of Christ – the suffering that comes, not because of our wrong doing, but comes because of the world’s hatred for Christ. Jesus said, “ in the world you have tribulation”. Can anyone deny this statement and teach that tribulations are a curse? Certainly not! But a true believer will not fall in all these tribulations . He will overcome, since Christ has overcome the world. Christian life is not breaking (avoiding) suffering, but it is a life living through sufferings . One should take prosperity and sufferings in a balanced way. Extreme teachings on either is not bibilical, but purely satanic. A child of God will not have extreme sufferings alone [ I Cori 10:13) and neither will he have extreme prosperity alone(Romans 5:3-4). But both prosperity and suffering will work together for good to equip him as a true disciple of Christ. None of the Christ’s disciples preached about extreme prosperity ( wordly) or extreme sufferings. They talked about both in a balanced way, thereby, edifying us about the hope of the inheritance that is incoruptible and undefiled, and that does not fade away but is reserved for us in heaven by the power of God.
We see that Paul had a clear definition about the present suffering and glory which is to be revealed . That made him to reckon that the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. Do we have the right definition about the sufferings and the glory that will be revealed in us? Let see what Peter exhorts us through his epistle.
I Peter 1:6, ‘ In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while it need be, you have been grieved by various trials.’ Peter clearly says about what we should rejoice. He speaks about the living hope, incoruptible and undefiled inheritance. Are we just thinking about the sufferings we are going through ? Do we think that we are at the end of the rope of our life ? Pray to God to to open your eyes to see beyond this tribulation, because what you see now is not permanent . It’s as temporary as waves!
We learnt from two people who had a clear definition about sufferings and eternity. Paul considered sufferings as ‘light’ when compared to the ‘weight’ of the glory. Peter asked us to rejoice while we are tested…So to see beyond sufferings, we too need to have clear understanding about the same. Only then can we have the right attitude towards ‘sufferings’ for Christ sake.
Now Paul makes a remarkable statement which is also our keyword, Hebrews 12:2-3
Look unto Jesus who endured cross for the joy that was set before him
Consider Jesus lest you become weary and discouraged.
‘Looking unto’ Jesus and ‘considering’ Jesus are two different things. Here the meaning of the word ‘ looking unto’ is ‘learning from’ and the word ‘consider’ means ‘giving value’. So, if you are struggling to find a road in the midst of trials, learn from Christ and give Him the priority/ value in your life. Peter could walk on water because he was looking unto Jesus. He could walk on that water which tried to drown him before. Those who look unto Jesus will never be put to shame. Let us look and consider Him who walked before us and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. There is a life after this wilderness. There is joy,peace and greater riches after we endure this present tribulation. Let us consider and imitate Him.
God bless you