Jesus loves you so much that He was able to face the horror of His arrest, trial, and death sentence with joy. He withstood terrible suffering and indignity with joy because He kept His eyes on the results. Because He was not about Himself about the Father.
Before Jesus’ arrest which He knew was imminent, Jesus prayed. John recorded the prayer for us. Verses 1-3 read,
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
Jesus knew His death was looming and rather than focus on the pain it would bring Him, He focused on the purpose of it, the glory it would bring the Father, and the eternal life it would bring to us. He could stop it from happening at any moment. Although He was completely human, He was also God and the Father had given Him authority over life. He could display the immense power of His divinity at any time but His love for us and for the Father was too great to let Him do that. His desire for God’s will was higher and bigger than the angst of His trial and execution.
Jesus glorified or revealed the Father in everything He did in His life. Every word He spoke was from the Father, every act He did was because of the Father. (John 8:28). Jesus was now about to reveal the Father in the ultimate way. Jesus kept His eyes on God and God’s will instead of focusing on the suffering He would experience.
The Father’s will is driven by His love for you and me. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Because God loves us so deeply, He sent His only Son, a part of Himself to us. Jesus glorified God through His whole life and then suffered the cross so that we could have eternal life. And Jesus kept that in mind too. Jesus thought about us and the eternal life we would receive and it comforted Him. He loves you so much that He was willing to undergo a death that has been described as one of the most gruesome thinkable.
Jesus gave up His life willingly and bore that horrific shame because He wanted you and me to have eternal life. He could stomach it because He also knew that He would soon be returning to the Father, to the eternity He already knew. He kept His eyes off Himself and on the results. One of those results was Heaven. In verses 4-5 Jesus prayed,
“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.”
Jesus sacrificed the awesome splendor and brilliance of Heaven to step down and live as a man. But He knew what awaited Him. He lived His life glorifying the Father and soon the Father would glorify Him, lift Him up and bring Him back into the fullness of God again. Jesus didn’t suddenly appear at His conception or at His birth. Jesus has existed from the beginning. He was God and with God before the world. The world was made through Him. (John 1:1-5). He is the word of God, the will of God manifested and He was about to demonstrate God’s love and will in a great, terrible, and beautiful way.
I cannot imagine suffering more severe than what Jesus faced through His trial and crucifixion. He withstood it by choice and with joy because He knew that He would be in Heaven with the Father, because glorifying God was much more important than His comfort, and because He loves us enough to give us eternal life. Hebrews 12:1-3 reads,
“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, 2 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.
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
Whatever you go through here for Jesus, you can endure it. You can take your eyes off yourself and focus them on Jesus. Jesus endured for you. He is in you, helping you through everything you are going through. You can remember that you are glorifying God. You can look around you at the lost who don’t know the love of God yet, and persist for them.
Jesus promised you would suffer if you follow Him. But He suffered first. He showed us how to endure it. Look to His example and persevere because He did it for you, because you want to glorify Him, because you love people as He loves, and because you know the hope that awaits you.