The Joy Set Before Him
“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
The work of Christ upon earth was to seek and save that which was lost. Ever before Him He saw the result of His mission, although the baptism of blood must first be received, although the weight of sins of the world was to gather upon His innocent soul, although the shadow of an unspeakable woe was ever over Him. Yet for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross and despised the shame. He endured all this that sinful man might be saved, that he might be elevated and ennobled and have a place with Him upon His throne.
Christ is the originator of divine truth. He knew the height and depth, length and breadth and fullness of the compassion of divine love, as no mortal man can know it. He knows the blessedness that sinners are refusing when they reject divine light, the horrors that will come upon the soul that refuses the truth of Heaven… Christ alone knows what means the exceeding weight of glory which those who rebel against God refuse to receive…
Men are contaminated with sin, and they cannot have an adequate conception of the heinous character of the evil which they cherish. Because of sin the Majesty of heaven was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Voluntarily our divine Substitute bared His soul to the sword of justice, that we might not perish but have everlasting life. Said Christ: “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” John 10:17, 18 No man of earth nor angel of heaven could have paid the penalty of sin. Jesus was the only one who could save rebellious man.
The joy that was set before Jesus was that of seeing souls redeemed by the sacrifice of His glory, His honor, His riches, and His own life. The salvation of man was His joy. When all the redeemed shall be gathered into the kingdom of God, He will see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied.
E. G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 368
“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:11
What sustained the Son of God during His life of toil and sacrifice? He saw the results of the travail of His soul, and was satisfied. Looking into eternity, He beheld the happiness of those who through His humiliation had received pardon and everlasting life. His ear caught the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” During every moment of Christ’s life in our world, God was repeating His gift. Christ, the sinless One, was making an infinite sacrifice for sinners, that they might be saved. He came as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and those for whom He came looked upon Him as stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. The cup of suffering was placed in His hand, as if He were the guilty one, and He drained it to the dregs. He bore the sin of the world to the bitter end… No line can fathom, no measurement compute, the love revealed by the cross of Calvary…
In every pang of anguish endured we behold the throes of paternal love. The Father Himself travailed in the greatness of His almighty love in behalf of a world perishing in sin. By the sacrifice that has been made, the gift of eternal life has been placed within the reach of every son and daughter of Adam.
Christ’s redeemed ones are His jewels, His precious and peculiar treasure. “They shall be as the stones of a crown”-“the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” Zechariah 9:16; Ephesians 1:18 In them “he shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of all His sufferings, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory–Christ the great center, from whom radiates all glory.
E. G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 369
“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” John 17:24
The love of God is without measure, without comparison. It is infinite… When we contemplate the dignity and glory of Christ we see how great was that love that prompted the sacrifice made upon the cross of Calvary for the redemption of a lost world. This theme will fill the saints with wonder and amazement through eternal ages, and why should we not meditate upon it here in this world?…
O the mystery of godliness–God manifest in the flesh! This mystery increases as we try to comprehend it. It is incomprehensible, and yet human beings will allow worldly, earthly things to intercept the faint view it is possible for mortals to have of Jesus and His matchless love… How can we be enthusiastic over earthly, common things and not be stirred with this picture–the cross of Calvary, the love that is revealed in the death of God’s dear Son…?
All this humiliation and anguish were endured to bring back the wanderers, guilty and thankless, to the Father’s house. O the home of the blest–I cannot afford to lose it! I shall, if saved in the kingdom of God, be constantly discerning new depths in the plan of salvation. All the redeemed saints will see and appreciate as never before the love of the Father and the Son, and songs of praise will burst forth from immortal tongues. He loved us, He gave His life or us. With glorified bodies, with enlarged capacities, with hearts made pure, with lips undefiled, we shall sing the riches of redeeming love. There Will be no suffering ones in heaven, no skeptics whom we must labor to convince of the reality of eternal things, no prejudices to uproot, but all will be susceptible to that love which passeth knowledge. Rest, thank God, there is a rest for the people of God, where Jesus will lead the redeemed into green pastures, by the streams of living waters which make glad the city of our God. Then the prayer of Jesus to His Father will be answered: “I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.”
E. G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 371