As I was driving to work this morning, my heart was full of joy! I was singing, at least on the inside, as I was celebrating the glory of Easter Morning (a few days early)! What an amazing and awesome knowledge - I know that my Redeemer lives! Then I thought back two thousand years and thought what was my Lord experiencing today...
Today was the day that Jesus had His "Last Supper" with His disciples, the 12 men that He had spent nearly every moment of the previous three and a half years with. He knew that this was the last time that they would fellowship over a meal together before He died. Today was the day that Jesus served His disciples the bread and the wine of Passover knowing full well that it was merely the prelude to the True Bread and Wine of His body and blood that He would serve for all mankind the next day.
Today was the day that Jesus took His friend Peter aside and told him that he would deny Him, not once, but three times. His heart was full of compassion as He told Peter that He had been praying for him. Today was the day that Christ told Judas to go and do what he had to do even knowing that it was to finalize the arrangements for His betrayal. Today was the day that His betrayal would be with a kiss.
Today was the day that Jesus could have used some faithful friends. Today was the day that His three closest friends were too tired to watch with Him awhile. Today was the day that my Lord cried out in such distress to His Father that He sweat drops of blood. Today was the day that Jesus asked the Father if there was another way. Today was the day that Christ willingly submitted to the will of the Father and said, "yet not My will but Thine."
Today was the day that Christ performed one more miracle - and for an "enemy". Today was the day that Jesus healed the servant of the High Priest whose ear Peter cut off in panic and rage. Today was the day that my Lord went willingly with those who would beat Him, mock Him and spit upon Him. Today, the Lord went without sleep. Today was the day that everyone deserted Him and fled! Today the Lord was alone.
Today I was tempted to feel guilty for my joy...
And what about tomorrow? The events of today were "bad" enough. What about the events we mark tomorrow? A crown of thorns thrust into His head, stripe upon stripe carved into the flesh on His back, nails piercing His hands and feet, suffocating to give those who will receive it His breath of life, blood running down a wooden cross while those He died to save ridiculed Him. My mind shys away from such horrors. It's too much for me to bear. Yet...
Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (emphasis mine)
Jesus, the One who authored my faith, endured the cross because of the joy He knew would be His as He paved the way for us to live in relationship with Him. He endured so that He could provide me with the very joy I was tempted to feel guilty for. I know joy today because I know the love that the Lord has for me. He proved it 2000 years ago. Joy overflows from within me because I know the rest of the story. Three days later He arose and now He sits at the right hand of the throne of God and intercedes for me!
Lord Jesus, today I am filled with joy because of Your love displayed for me. Today I stop and remember the price that You paid. Today I praise You for living, dying and rising again for me! Today is the day, just like yesterday and just like tomorrow, that I gratefully choose to live my life for you.