Joy and endurance!
Scripture reading for March 20th: Hebrews 12, Psalm 56, Proverbs 25
Hebrews 12:1-4 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him Who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
Jesus on the cross was the example used by the writer of Hebrews for the believers he was writing to encourage. Many were discouraged because of opposition and persecution and were thinking about going back to Judaism. Jesus’ was motivated by His joy. It was a vision of God’s plan to save sinners through His obedience and willingness to freely give His life and blood to purchase freedom. This joy helped Jesus to endure the cross and suffer through the mockery and shame of crucifixion, a truly painful and humiliating experience. He trusted in God the Father and obeyed, even through his excruciating suffering. He triumphed over death and the grave and lives in eternal joy!
Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, Whose Word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”
Prayer: Father God, today I consider Jesus, the Author and Perfector of my faith. As I ponder the suffering He endured for me, I am ashamed of my own weariness and failure to successfully struggle against sin. Fill me with the joy of our Lord, Who is my strength. His joy is to see all sinners saved from sin’s penalty and power and enjoying a place in God’s forever family! Empower me to spread the Word!
Proverbs 25:23 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”