The Agony of the Cross and the Joy of Eternal Life

Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB: “Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Emphasis is mine)

If there is one picture that takes hold of my mind, if there is one thought that crushes my heart, it is the thought or realization that God our heavenly Father, loved us so much, that He would ask of His Son, to go through the agony of the cross, so that our sins, our transgressions of unrighteousness, that separates us from our Holy God, would be washed clean, by the blood and death of His Son.

And then, even more so, that Jesus, God’s one and only Son, who walked among us in the flesh, in a physical body like our own, yet without sin, would willingly be obedient unto the Father and subject Himself to endure all that He endured, because He knew there was no other feasible way and because of His love for His Father and His love for us.

Hebrews 1:3-4 NASB says: “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, to the extent that He has inherited a more excellent name than they.” (Emphasis is mine)

When He had made purification of sins . . .” Those are my sins and those are your sins that have been purified. That is what Jesus did. That is what ONLY Jesus could do, that is why “He has inherited a more excellent name than they.” That is why no one can come to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). That is why there is no other name under heaven given that we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

And the last words of Jesus . . . “It is finished” (John 19:30).

When I consider the words that Jesus spoke and the things that Jesus did and how He continually told us that He did nothing on his own but only spoke the words that the Father had given Him to speak and only did those things that the Father showed Him to do (John 12:49)(John 5:19), it only serves to validate how Jesus could say, I and the Father are one (John 10:30) or he who has seen Me has seen the Father (John 14:9). When we consider the ministry of Jesus and how for the first couple of years He was continually telling His disciples that “my time or my hour has/is not yet come” (John 7:6) (John 2:4), Jesus was talking about the cross. The reason why He came. Jesus had not been sent to judge the world at this time, He has been sent that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17).

Listen again to the words that Jesus spoke, words given to Him to speak by God the Father:

John 3:16-20 NASB: “16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. 18 The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.19 And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed.”

And Hebrews 12:1-2 says that Jesus despised the shame that He was subjected to, despised it, because of what He knew He was accomplishing, because of the joy that was set before Him. And what was that joy? Jesus knew what was going to happen next. Death was being conquered, Jesus Himself would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters (Romans 8:29).

So when I think of the agony that Jesus endured, I think of how I am utterly indebted to Him and I also think of the hope that He has promised to you and to me who believe and trust in Him. That because He lives, you and I shall also live (John 14:19) and we shall be in His presence for evermore!

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!


  1. Bruce, thank you. I believe the “joy that was set before Him” was the joy Jesus had with His Father “before the world was” and into which He would be bringing us as one with them. John 17 reveals the joy and glory they had together and would share with us through His death. Blessings.


    • Hi Fran, I agree and that is encompassed within Jesus’s love for the Father and the Father for the Son, before the world was and their love for us which was manifested in the hour that has now come, and as you stated, the joy and glory that would be shared with us through Christ’s sacrifice. As I wrote this post, the thought of “God with us” as in the flesh, was my focus, but you’re right, it goes way beyond that. Thank you Fran and God’s blessings to you and yours also!

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