The Joy before Him

The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." —1 Corinthians 11:23–24

It's amazing that on the night the Lord was betrayed, just moments from this event, that He was giving thanks. He was giving thanks as He was about to face a horrendous time of suffering and anguish. He was giving thanks with the foreknowledge that His own disciples would temporarily abandon Him. He was giving thanks with the full knowledge that the man who was about to betray Him would do so in just a few moments.

Yet He gave thanks. How could He give thanks at a time like that? Because He had a goal, and the way to reach it was through His death on the cross. Hebrews 12:2 tells us, "For the joy that was set before Him [He] endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." What kept Him going—all the way to the cross? You did. "For the joy that was set before Him. . . . " He did it for you.

Jesus told the story of a shepherd who had 100 sheep and one went astray. So he left the 99 and went searching until he found that one, wayward lamb, wrapped it around his neck, and came back rejoicing. There was joy in finding a lost sheep.

The joy that was set before Jesus was knowing that we could have our sins forgiven, have our lives right with God, and be able to approach His throne 24 hours a day. And He gave thanks.

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