Yeshua is the head and cornerstone of the Kingdom to come. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father, having been raised from death. On Him we are to fix our eyes and get ready for inevitable challenges on the path and suffering associated with them. We need passion, which is primarily, as per the meaning of the word, a readiness, willingness and ability to suffer. We need perseverance to not lose hope, faith or heart while fighting the good fight. We cannot slacken, take time off or recover from the fight until it is won. This is a big ask. What will see us through? How will we be able to follow the right path and run the race with all our might? Will, self-control, discipline? From personal experience I would say, I don’t think so. Luckily, the author of the letter to the Hebrews tells us what motivated Yeshua Himself to carry through: the joy set before Him!
Really, can it be so easy? The accuser asks, you are seeking joy, while you’re in this mess called your life? But it is not self-pleasing joy, deferred gratification, it is the pull heavenward, toward the light, letting the shadows fall behind me, focusing on Him my sense and purpose rather than my own confusion and sin and shortcomings. It is the ray of light on my path that guides me like a pilot in fog, it is the hope that despite my feebleness and failure He, my Lord, can use my life.
What does this joy look like for you? Do you envisage a wedding banquet as per Matthew 22? Some blissful state in a celestial realm? I firstly envisage seeing Him, meeting my master, as a brother, in the air as per 1 Thess 4:17. For the first time being in person with Him whom my soul loves. Then descending onto the aftermath of a planet wrecked by some literally earth-shaking end times events, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work: together, full of purpose, in love, without any doubts, for the first time being useful to my full potential, not slacking or struggling with motivation or being confused about priorities. It’s not gonna be a cushy office job. As per Mt 25:23, the elect who have overcome and proven trustworthy will be in charge of large budgets. Yes there will be joy also, it is the same Greek word χαρᾶς (charas) here as in Hebrews 12:2. But it won’t be blissful inactivity or 24/7 partying. I envisage the wedding banquet to follow some time after, maybe some 1000 years after, when everything is prepared and brought back to a state presentable to the true King, the Father of our Lord. For the time being, some 10 centuries maybe, I expect an awesome mix of admiration/worship, manual and sedentary labour, plus daily communion and quality time with the redeemed. The joy is not just to celebrate, it is also to find true meaning in work, which in this world is always tarnished by greed, mixed motives and the lack of perspective and sound leadership. The more I try to imagine what this will be like, the more joy I feel in anticipation, and the more my daily admiration, work and communion on this side are affected positively also. Will there still be engineering? Computers? Paper? Desks & workplaces? I reckon there will be a flow of work with more verbal communication and more reliance on the Spirit and imagination, more dependency, clarity, significance.
Just in fact while I was pretty miserable about my life, this thought suddenly cropped up. So even if I don’t feel it, I can claim the joy set before me, not because I deserve it or am even remotely worthy of it; but because God willing, it will lead me to live a life that resembles, at least in essence, the life Yeshua led.