JOY OF THE CROSS? ~ Ray E Horton
How could all that Jesus went through be called joy?
How could all that Jesus went through be called joy? For Jesus in His human flesh, of course it was hard. In the Garden, He asked three times if this cup could be taken from Him. Yet He said “Thy will be done,” and angels came and strengthened Him. Thus, He got up courageously, refocused on why He came, and faced the cruelty of the Cross.
He had been betrayed, abandoned by His friends, mocked and humiliated. Then, on the Cross, as terrible as the physical suffering was, the greatest horror He experienced was carrying the weight of the sins of humanity. Father couldn’t even look at Him at that moment, and His flesh kicked in again: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt.27:36).
But then, “He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). But suddenly, Glory, all of our sins were cast into outer darkness, as far as the East is from the West (Ps. 103: 12).
“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split” (Matt 27:51). The veil that kept mankind from access to the Holy of Holies was torn open, and now, forgiven, we can receive Him and be temples of the Holy Spirit, with life in Him forever.
Oh, the joy He must have felt to have accomplished His task on Earth and have a Body here with whom to have a love relationship and be His hands and feet and mouthpiece to spread the Word. Truly He could experience that joy, as the Hebrews author wrote:
“… for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Our salvation was His joy.
Where was Jesus for three days?
A question that many have is where was Jesus in spirit between his death and resurrection? I believe, instantly with the Father. After that, the creeds tell us He descended into hell to defeat the devil, although the devil suffered his ultimate defeat at the Cross. I’m quick sure the creeds are incorrect. Jesus did not go to the place of eternal suffering.
Jesus said to the thief beside Him, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). That’s the more likely answer. Paradise, “Abraham’s bosom,” was the place where believers went before the cross, awaiting redemption. He “set the captives free.”