Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Jesus endured the torture and humiliation of the cross. The great commander, with a host of angel armies at His call, bore it all with patient endurance.
Why? Hebrews 12, 2 tells us that He endured it for the joy that was set before Him. He aligned His will with the Father's will to bring many people to Himself and to bring His Father glory.
John MacArthur said that only what was at the end of the race could have motivated Jesus to leave what He did and endure what He did. Today, Pastor Rich continues this series on Hebrews, unpacking Hebrews 12, 2 in this message titled, Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus, Joy. Do you know what the business of heaven is?
It's what we're going to be looking at this morning. Hebrews chapter 12, verse 1, Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to run the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus. Why do we look unto Jesus? Because Jesus was on a mission. His mission was the business of heaven. What is the business of heaven?
What does it say in the middle of verse 2? Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross. For the joy that was set before Him. God is in the business of joy. God is in the business of joy.
And the word joy here means gladness. That's God's business. There is much in scripture about that. Let's consider some of these passages. Let's begin with Psalm 16, verse 11.
Psalm 16, verse 11. There are several passages I want us to consider. We're going to read these responsibly.
I'll read the italics and you read the bold. You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy.
At your right hand are pleasures evermore. Shout and sing for joy, O inhabitants of Zion. For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. And the ransom of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing. Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. And they shall obtain gladness and joy and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. I will rejoice in the Lord.
I will take joy in the God of my salvation. These things I have spoken to you that my joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full. But now I come to you and these things I speak in the world that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope in the power of the Holy Spirit. Whom having not seen you love, though now you do not see him, yet believing you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. Is there any question about it that God is in the business of joy?
C.S. Lewis said it well. He was writing letters to Malcolm and he said joy is the serious business of heaven. God is in the business of joy.
I'm going to get this out of my way. Now as we look at this text in Hebrews chapter 12 in verse 2, right in the middle of the verse, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, those two words that we have considered so far. Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross? This is actually, among scholars and theologians, this is a problem text. And it all boils down to one word. And you're thinking how can this be a problem text?
It's pretty clear. But there's one little word in there that they're not sure exactly where it fits. And in the English translation it's translated for.
Who for the joy? That's the Greek word anti. It is a preposition. It is a genitive preposition.
And they're not sure of the exact meaning of how it's used in this text because the way anti is generally used is in the sense of instead of. So in other words, the way it is normally used, it would read who instead of the joy that was set before him endured the cross. That is a sense.
It could be understood that way accurately. Instead of the joy. In other words, it's speaking of what he gave up. During the Christmas season, when we celebrate the incarnation, when God became man, do we consider what it is that he gave up to come here to us and to live and walk among us? What was it that he set aside? Paul in Philippians chapter two points to that. His equality with God wasn't something that he had to grasp.
He set aside his glory. And so the idea of anti here in this sense would be in exchange or an alternative or pointing out a contrast. We find an example in James chapter four verse fifteen where it's talking about praying and it says you shouldn't just pray or you shouldn't just say that today we're going to go to such and such a place. He says instead you ought to say if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that. That word instead in James four fifteen is exactly the same preposition.
That's an example of it. In Luke chapter eleven in verse eleven, the Lord is teaching his disciples about prayer and he says if your father, if a son asks a father for a fish, will he give him a snake or a serpent for a fish or instead of a fish? Same word there, the same preposition.
So that's the sense of its normal use instead of. So when we consider what it is that the Lord gave up, that the Lord Jesus gave up, the second person of the Trinity, what was it that he was willing to set aside? What was it that he gave up in this extended moment between two eternities, the complete joy of his perfect relationship with his father? As he said in John seventeen, the glory which I had with you before the world was.
Consider the Trinity this morning because the incarnation of God is all about Trinitarian theology. The son set aside his perfect relationship with the father and he knew that it would have to go to a particular depth in order to accomplish what the father wanted to accomplish. And what is the nature of this relationship? The complete joy of his perfect relationship with his father. The Trinity from eternity past had a perfect, other focused, other pleasing relationship.
There is no self-centeredness in the community of the Trinity. It is a relationship of free and spontaneous love and satisfaction that they draw from each other and that they lavish upon each other. It is a relationship of constant uninterrupted fellowship with each other. This is what the Lord was willing to set aside. Is it any wonder that so often while he was here on the earth, Jesus went away from the crowds and he spent time with his father for hours and hours just communing with his father.
And yet the worst separation was yet to come. Now there is a second sense. This is probably the more common way that this verse is understood, the preposition anti. It is the sense of on behalf of, on behalf of. In other words, because of what was coming, what he would accomplish as Jesus was looking ahead to the joyful outcome of the anguish of his soul, of what he set aside. Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.
So, in other words, he endured the cross on behalf of the joy that was set before him. In this sense, this preposition is a marker of reason. It has implication of purpose. We have an example of this in Ephesians chapter 5 verse 31 as the apostle Paul is pointing to God's creation of a man and a woman, male and female. And he says, for this reason, there he uses this preposition anti. For this reason, which is the same thing maybe that is intended here in this verse, in this genitive preposition. We find an example of this in John chapter 12 where Jesus is teaching once again and he is foretelling his death to his disciples. And he says, unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it does not produce. And Jesus was using this illustration of himself. And he says, the seed must be planted and it must die and if it dies, then it produces much fruit. It is in that sense that maybe the writer of Hebrews is giving us this preposition. Who for the joy that was set before him.
Because what happens to that seed that dies, it produces. And Jesus says in John chapter 12, then you will be with me and my father will honor you. And that is the joy that is set before him as we saw in John chapter 17. What is it that brings God joy? It is that his loved ones are one with him.
Do you see the relationship in that? Do you see the essence of what brings the father joy? It is the oneness.
It is the oneness of himself and therefore we understand that the Trinity existed in eternity in absolute complete satisfaction and joy. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-11 12:14:33 / 2023-12-11 12:19:10 / 5