“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 sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
At Easter we rightly give special focus on the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ without which we would be without hope. The Gospel writers make it clear that Jesus was in no doubt that He came to earth for the cross. Without His substitutionary death for the sin of mankind we should all perish. Without His bodily resurrection we would have no assurance or expectation resurrection for ourselves. Jesus came to reconcile people to Himself. Why would He endure such pain and humiliation at the hands of His creation?
The answer is in Himself, in His Divine Nature. To say that He came solely out of love is inadequate and falls short. Jesus came to glorify God. To glorify God means to reveal His majesty, beauty, wisdom, power, in short, His Divine Nature, within the Creation. Love is an aspect of God’s glory but not all.
The Lord had made a prophetical statement to Satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15), an unconditional Covenant with Abraham (12:1-3; 15) and King David (2 Samuel 7:16) and He will show Himself faithful to His word including His word that came through the prophets. When the whole creation is restored and God dwells with men on the earth then His glory will be revealed for all to see.
“And I [John] heard a voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3).
Paul writes, “He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” “Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:25, 26, 28).
God will finish what He began in the Garden of Eden. He will have His Creation in perfect harmony with Himself and He will make His home with men (Revelation 21:22-23:5).
When the writer of Hebrews wrote concerning Jesus Christ, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” it was the consummation of the victory over sin, the devil and death when God in all His holiness dwells with men that He had in mind. That is when He is seen face to face by His creation in all His glory (Revelation 22:4). That which Peter James and John saw on the Mount of Transfiguration was a foretaste of what all people who put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ shall see.
Likewise when we have our focus on that same glorious future we will gladly endure the cross by laying down our lives for Him and the brethren (1 John 3:16). As Jesus is in resurrected humanity so shall we be in the resurrection (1 John 3:2). We shall never have the distinctive of the Divine Nature but we shall be perfect in humanity just as Jesus is.
God’s goal is to finish what He began and dwell with men. In Jesus Christ, we can begin enjoying His presence or continue enjoying His presence today.