Keep Running! – 7

What did Jesus do as the author and finisher of our faith? First, He set his eyes on “the joy that was set before him” (12:2, ESV). What is this joy? It is the joy of glorifying the Father. It is the joy of calling out a people for his name. It is the joy of fulfilling the work of the Father. It is the joy of receiving the highest honor and authority over all creation as Messiah and Mediator (Eph. 1:21-23).

Second, He “endured the cross, despising the shame” (12:2,ESV) “Endured” here is the verb form of the noun, “endurance” in v. 1, from hupomeno, “to continue to bear up despite difficulty and suffering.” (Louw-Nida). For the joy set before him, Jesus put up with the suffering of the cross.

When I first read this verse years ago, I thought “despising” meant, “insulting,” that Jesus looked down upon the shame of the cross. But now I know better. “Despising” is from kataphroneo, “‘to think that something has no value’ or ‘to reckon something as being worthless.’” (Louw-Nida). The crucifixion was the most shameful and excruciating punishment of criminals in Jesus’ time. It was shameful because it was intended to bring shame to the criminal. It was done to a naked criminal and in public, causing much pain and prolonged suffering until death. But Jesus despised the shame of the cross. This means that he disregarded its shame,[1] treating it as worthless compared to the joy that was set before him!

Third, he “seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (12:2, ESV). In Filipino parlance, the expression “right hand” usually means the second in command, the executive assistant, or the vice-chairman. However, “right hand” (Gk. dexia) in the Bible symbolizes honor, power, and authority.[2] It means: (1) “power,” according to Hebraic usage of the word. (see Ex. 15:6; Job 40:14; Ps. 17:7, 18:35; 20:6; 21:8; 44:3; 60:5; 98:1); and (2) “the place of highest honor”[3] and “glory”[4] (see Ps. 109:1; Matt. 22:44; 26:64; Mark 12:36; 14:62; 16:19; Luke 20:42; 22:69; Heb. 1:13).

Before the world began, the Son of God had this glory and exaltation with the Father already (see John 17:5). Yet, He left His splendor in heaven and came down to earth to live with sinners. He offered Himself as an atoning, substitutionary sacrifice on the cross for our redemption. The Father worked His mighty power by raising Him from the dead, with the concomitant power of the Son and the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:18-22). At the right hand of God, the Father gave the Son the highest honor over all creation in heaven and on earth, making Him “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). As both Messiah and Mediator and Lord over all creation in heaven and earth, Jesus now rules at the right hand of the throne of God.

[1] Robert Jamieson, Andrew Robert Fausset, and David Brown, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary, in Power Bible CD v3.0, ed. John Gilbertson (Bronson, MO: Online Publishing, 2001).

[2] A. T. Robertson, Robertson’s Word Pictures, in Power Bible CD.

[3] Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, in BibleSpeak CD, v.3.07, ed. Steve Quick (Hyde Park: Q Software, 2001-2007).

[4] B. L. Johnson, People’s New Testament Commentary, in Power Bible CD.


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