The Shame He Despised; The Cross He Endured.
OUR SCRIPTURE TEXT
“Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that 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 KJV
Many times we use clichés in preaching such as “Trust Jesus.” But that particular phrase or arrangement of these two words is not found in Scripture. However many times we are told to trust the Lord and the Bible tells us that Jesus is the Lord. Let us look at the Scripture:
Psalm 18:2KJV: “The LORD is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust; my Buckler, and the Horn of my Salvation, and my High Tower.”
Psalm 18:30 KJV: “As for God, His Way is perfect: the Word of the LORD is tried: He is a Buckler to all those that trust in Him.”
Psalm 118:8 KJV: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”
Proverbs 28:25 KJV: “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.”
Isaiah 26:4 KJV: “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:”
1 Timothy 4:10 KJV: “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”
The Bible tells us to “believe“ in Jesus Christ and that person will be saved. The word means to have faith, and to put one’s trust in Jesus Christ, which means making a commitment to Him. There is no such thing in the Bible as saving faith without a commitment. That commitment is the result of salvation and means to faithfully follow the Lord Jesus.
The phrase “trust in Jesus” has many applications in our lives. We put our trust in the Lord in many ways.
There is another phrase often used that is found in God’s Word. It is instruction that also convenes a powerful and live changing message. That phrase is found in Hebrews 12:1-3 KJV and it is the action of belief and trust in Jesus Christ.
1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
That phrase is “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” The statement’s context is important to understanding its full meaning. The statement follows Hebrews 11 which is the Bible’s “Hall of Faith.”
Here are examples from history of men God greatly used who lived by faith in challenging times and were called upon by God to carry out difficult tasks.
The one thing common to these men and women was their faith in God. They believed Him, accepted His words as truth, realized that it was God their Creator who called them to salvation and service and therefore they put their trust in God and obeyed Him. Obeying Him simply means they accepted His will and purpose for their lives.
These faithful men and women were not perfect, and were the same as you and I. They had the same carnal nature, the same desires, the same lusts, the same pride and fallacies you and I are subject too. Yet they were victorious in accomplishing God’s will for their lives and are at the moment enjoying in Heaven the presence of the Lord and the blessings of Heaven.
There are three things we all need to do if we are to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. They are:
- We must stop PRETENDING;
- We must stop MAKING EXCUSES; and
- We must stop JUDGING others.
WE MUST STOP PRETENDING!
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.”
Matthew 23:24 KJV
- It is a common thing among hypocritesto abuse the pretence of zeal when in reality they are exercising covetousness and extortion.
- Literally, under a color of long praying signifies a double wickedness in them: the one, that they devoured widows’ goods; the other that they did it under a pretence of godliness.
WE MUST STOP MAKING EXCUSES!
18 “And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto Him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs to go and see it; I pray Thee have me excused.
19 And another said, I have bought five yokes of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray Thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”
Luke 14:18-20 KJV
These are not flimsy and ridiculous excuses, as some have sought to make them, but the most important excuses that could be given. As far as these excuses may be weighed as justifying the refusal of those bidden to attend the feast, they are worthless and therefore ridiculous; but from the standpoint of the carnal man, they did pertain to the things men of the world hold to be most important:
See The Lameness Of The Excuses Given:
- The first excuse – My Possessions (verse 18).
- The second excuse – My Responsibilities (verse 19).
- The third excuse – My Personal Life (verse 20).
There is evident a progressive unwillingness to attend in the excuses offered: (1) One pleads necessity; (2) the next pleads his will not to go; and (3) the third said flatly, “I cannot,” but did not bother to ask any release from his obligation.
In the case of this last, a marriage did exempt the bridegroom from the war (Deuteronomy 24:5; 20:7), but not from a feast it was his duty to attend. It has been often noted that there was really no compelling reason behind any of the excuses. Viewing land or proving oxen which had “already been purchased” cannot be looked upon as valid reasons for their refusal; and, in the case of the man with a bride, where was there ever a bride who would not have wished to attend a feast in the home of a rich man?
The three excuses have this in common:
That they all plead something that pertains to self, and all place the gratification of selfish desires above duty and obligation.
In the aggregate, these three who made excuses stand for the Jews who rejected the invitation to receive the kingdom. There had come about, through ages, a deterioration of what the concept of the kingdom meant to the chosen people. Especially among the leaders, a malignant carnality had distorted their thoughts of what God’s kingdom would be; and, for that reason, they insultingly rejected Christ.
WE MUST STOP JUDGING OTHERS!
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
Matthew 7:1 KJV
Though it is certainly dangerous to evaluate the problems or sins of others, the context answers the question whether we are to do so. We are to judge and in every aspect of life, as other Scripture verses show.
Our LORD continues His thought, in context by showing that we are to evaluate the deeds of others, but to be very careful with our judgments. We should consider our weaknesses and sins very carefully, to the point of overcoming them, before we make harsh judgments on others.
How can we condemn someone else when we may have even bigger problems? The LORD instructs us to remove our hypocrisy and only then we can help our brother with his difficulty.
TWO VERY GOOD REASONS TO LOOK UNTO JESUS.
- Jesus is the Author of our faith; and
- Jesus is the Finisher of our faith.
What does it mean that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith?
Jesus is described as the Author and Finisher of our faith in our text, Hebrews 12:2 KJV. An author is an originator or creator. The Greek word translated “author” can also mean “captain,” “chief leader,” or “prince.”
From this we can deduce that Jesus is the Originator of our faith in that He begins it, as well as the Captain and Prince of our faith. This indicates that Jesus controls our faith, steers it as a captain steers a ship, and presides over it and cares for it as a monarch presides over and cares for his people.
The Greek word translated “finisher” in Hebrews 12:2 KJV appears only this one time in the New Testament. It means literally “completer” or “perfecter” and speaks of bringing something to its conclusion. Putting the two words together we see that Jesus, as GOD, both creates and sustains our faith.
We know that saving faith is a gift from GOD, not something we come up with on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that gift comes from our Lord Jesus Christ, its Creator. He is also the Sustainer of our faith, meaning that true saving faith cannot be lost, taken away or given away.
This is a source of great comfort and joy to believers, especially in times of doubt and spiritual struggles. Our Lord Jesus Christ has created our faith and He will watch over it, care for it, and sustain it.
It is important for us to understand that Christ is not only the Creator and Sustainer of our saving faith, but He is also the Sustainer of our daily walk and the Finisher of our spiritual journey.
For if Christ is not the Author of our new life, and if Christ is not the Finisher or Perfecter of our faith through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power, then we are neither born again nor are we true followers of Christ. Let us look at these two passages:
Philippians 1:6 KJV:
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 1:13-14 KJV:
13″In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”
THE SHAME HE DESPISED.
The Shame and Spitting
“I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting.”
Isaiah 50:6 KJV
Of whom does the prophet speak of? Does he speak of himself, or some other person? We cannot doubt but what the prophet Isaiah here wrote concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.
Shame is something that mankind fears most of all, even more so than death.
They mocked Him as God, in all His offices of King, Prophet, and Priest:
- The true King, they gave a crown of thorns and a purple robe;
- The true Prophet, they blindfolded Him and said “prophesy! Who hit you?”
- The true Priest, “If you are the Christ, save Yourself and us!”
“Ah, He saved others; Himself He could not save,” they laughed!
- They mocked Him in His sufferings and even His prayers.
From that little phrase “the shame”we can look back to the Gospel accounts and observed the many ways in which our Lord Jesus Christ was shamed:
- Shameful accusations: blasphemy (among the Jews) and sedition (to the Romans).
- Shameful mocking of many kinds, from Herod and from Pilate’s soldiers.
- Shameful mocking of His Person, both His humanity (stripping Him of His garments), and His divinity.
THE CROSS HE ENDURED.
What could have been so wonderful, so joyful, that the Lord Jesus Christ was willing to “endure the cross” for?
I mean, really? He endured what has been considered the most barbaric form of death devised: asphyxiation.Besides all the agony He went through because of the scourging; the beating of the crown of thorns on His head; the nailing of His hands and feet. Our Lord endured all that…for what?
God Almighty endured all the rejection, humiliation, betrayal, agony and distress for the joy of seeing one soul saved!A repentant sinner finding his way home.
I began to think about how easy it is for me to get down in the dumps about how “hard a time I’m having.” Whatever I have been through, or will go through, is nothing compared to what our Lord went through, yet He could say, “…Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…”
Did you catch that last part? “…despising the shame…”The Lord Jesus didn’t care about the shame He endured. He even despised it. It was nothing compared to the “joy of seeing a sinner saved!”
What can I set before me as a joy while I endure the cross that the Lord Jesus has given me? Here’s just a few that in my heart right now:
- My sins are forgiven and I’m a child of the King of kings;
- I have a home in Heaven where there is only joy, and no crosses to bear; and
- I will spend eternity with my Saviour, the One who could endure all He did for the joy of seeing me saved.
What “cross” are you bearing right now? Wouldn’t it be easier to bear it if your heart and mind were focused unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith? Now, make your own list.
THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM.
The JOY which our Lord Jesus Christ felt was the joy of feeding us with the Bread of Heaven–the joy of clothing poor, naked sinners in His own Righteousness–the joy of finding mansions in Heaven for homeless souls–of delivering us from the prison of Hell and giving us the eternal enjoyment of Heaven!
But why should the Lord Jesus Christ look on us? Why should He choose to do this for us?
Oh! My friends, we never deserved anything at His hands! The reason that Jesus went on the Journey, the reason that He became a man, the reason that He went to the cross, is that He would end up with something more than what He had before–and that something is US!
Jesus was willing to endure the cross not for Himself, but for US. Yes, we are the joy that was set before Him. We are the prize that He so eagerly desired and cherished.
Jesus went to the cross and endured the shame and the pain because He knew that was the only way that we could join Him at the right hand of the Father.
Yes, we are the treasure that He sought. We are the prize for which He fought; and He is bringing many repentant sinners to glory. This is the grand finale of the plan–the plan that is not complete without US!
THIS IS HIS EXALTATION.
“And [He] is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God.”
Which is in heaven; and is expressive of the majesty and glory of God; and of the honour done to Jesus in human nature, which is not granted to any of the angels.
Here Jesus sits as God’s fellow, as equal to Him, as God, and as having done His work as man, and Mediator; and this may assure us, that when we have run out our race, we shall sit down too, with Jesus upon His Throne, and be at rest.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name: That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 KJV.