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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

Why did Jesus die? Theologians will tell you that he needed to die as a perfect sacrifice of our sins, and that’s true. We all were lost, subject to our evil sin nature, and destined to eternity separated from God.

The only way to bridge that gap was to have some person who was sinless die on behalf of the world, and that person was, by his choice Jesus Christ. He died so we might live.

But tucked away in Hebrews we find another reason that Jesus died. This reason was, perhaps the motivation for why he died. Jesus died because he knew the pain he would endure on earth would be well worth the joy he’d receive when all things were accomplished.

Joy? You may say? What joy? Was the joy he was looking forward to the joy of living in heaven for eternity? I think not. After all, heaven was his home and the universe was his playground.

Was the joy he was looking forward to the joy of living with his father? Again, I think not. Why would he leave his father on his own will and suffer hardship so he could look forward to being with his father? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Jesus Christ left heaven, endured the shame, ridicule, loneliness, rejection, hate and anger because he was looking forward to the joy of living with you. Yep, you are his joy, his crown, the one he longs to spend time with.

Any of us can endure a little hardship and pain if we know that the end result is better than the present circumstances. Take exercise for example, there may be a few who really enjoy exercise, but for most of us we struggle to get ourselves onto the running path or into the gym. It’s much easier to say, “I’ll start tomorrow.”

But if we want to enjoy good health we exercise. Exercise is good for the heart, prevents or at least puts off some diseases, and can even deter the aging process. The end result is worth the present pain and discomfort.

Jesus knew before he left heaven the first time what life would be like for him on earth. He knew the pain he’d endure for you. Jesus knew, before he left heaven every single mistake you’d make. Every cross or profane word. Every affair. Every visit to the porn sight. Every time you’d mock him. Still, he looked forward to the day he could spend eternity with you. The joy far outweighed the pain.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me so much. Things here on earth get very painful. I don’t understand why I do what I do or have to go through what I am going through. Help me to endure all of this with the expectation I have of spending eternity with you. In your name, Amen.

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