by William Oldham
“…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 has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Christ came into this world to do the will of His Father, which was to bring salvation to fallen sinners; the Father’s will was perfectly accomplished by Jesus’ death and resurrection. In wholly giving Himself to His Father’s will, there was a great reward promised Jesus in doing so, and in this passage of Scripture it is referred to as, “The joy that was set before Him.”
No doubt that there was great joy in Jesus being set down at the right hand of the throne of God and being given, “All authority in heaven and on earth.” But the joy given Jesus extends way beyond His position and His name as Lord. It embraces a race of people given to Him as an inheritance: a multitude which cannot be numbered; spirit-born from every nation, tribe and tongue on the face of this earth.
These people were heathens and sinners, without God and without hope in this world; but God, in great mercy, sent His Son into this world to offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice for them, and transform them into a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a chosen people who would be a praise unto God. And God gave these people to Jesus as His inheritance—His family. And this joy was promised to Him long before He was born.
“…The Lord has said to me, You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession.” Psalm 2:7-8
As for the people that have been given to Jesus as His inheritance, they too have a joy set before them. A hymn was published in 1900 that perfectly describes the joy that belongs to those who believe in Christ. It is called “Joy Unspeakable.” The song speaks of four things that fill up the joy of Christians: freedom, salvation, hope, and glory.
The first stanza talks about freedom. Before Jesus came into my heart, I was bound up in sin. I always carried with me condemnation and a guilty conscience, and a fear of dying and going to hell. I was religious but lost. One night, Jesus came to me and set me free from all my guilt, condemnation, and fear of death. He replaced my fears with a freedom and a joy unspeakable.
The second stanza talks about salvation. After Jesus came into my heart, I began reading the Bible, and I couldn’t stop. The Bible told me everything I should have been told the first thirty years of my life. It told me of the love of God and Christ. It told me that I am His child now and forever; it told me Jesus is preparing a place for me and is coming after me one day. Saved! And I know that I am—O what joy fills my heart!
The third stanza speaks of hope. I don’t see or hear Jesus. But the Bible is filled with His wonderful promises to those who believe in Jesus; and it is in those promises of God that I hope, and they fill me with a joy unspeakable!
The fourth stanza speaks of glory. One day Jesus is coming for His inheritance; and when He does, He will clothe us in glorious new bodies that are immortal and incorruptible. Jesus will take us with Him to our new home where we will live with Him and the Father forever—O what joy!
The chorus says it all: “It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, full of glory, full of glory; it is joy unspeakable and full of glory. O, the half has never yet been told.”
Brother Bill is a Bible teacher and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org