THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM
By W. P. CLARK
Many books have been written, and many addresses delivered at Conferences on the subject of the Second Advent, which dwell on the joy of the Redeemed, when they see their Lord face to face and shall reign with Him; but few dwell on His Joy, which must be infinitely greater than ours, inasmuch as He has infinitely greater capacity for Joy. How great will be His Joy may be measured by what He had to "endure" to obtain it. For the joy set before Him He endured the Cross "despising the shame" (Heb. 12: 2); but "none of the ransomed ever knew how deep were the waters crossed, nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through," ere He found that joy.
See Him as He goes up Calvary Hill "so marred from the form of man in His aspect, that His appearance was not that of a Son of man," (Isaiah 52: 14). With bruised back from the terrible scourging, with blood-stained face from the Cross, of thorns, with bent form from the weight of the Cross, "He endured the Cross." A beautiful legend tells us that the woman, who had been "bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself" until He had laid hands upon her and "she was made straight," came up to Him, as He staggered under the load of the Cross, and wiped with her handkerchief the blood and sweat from His face. She knew what it was to suffer with a bent back, and to be jeered at by a multitude!”
And how can the agony of the Crucifixion be possibly pictured or even imagined? Intense as must have been the physical suffering, to which were added the jeers and taunts of the Chief Priests and the multitude, in which no doubt the invisible powers of darkness joined, how much more must have been the appalling, unimaginable suffering carried by the absolutely sinless, spotless Son of God, being "made sin" for us, and as such, forsaken of His Father, a fact wringing from His lips that heart-rending cry, - "My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken Me?"
But He also despised the shame. When king David sent messengers to condole with Hanun, King of Ammon, on the death of his father, we read that he shaved off half their beards and cut off their garments in the middle, and "the men were greatly ashamed" (1Chron. 19: 5): how much greater must have been the shame of hanging [possibly naked] on a cross exposed to the gaze of the crowd! "He endured the shame."
other side of the picture - the joy set before Him - still lies in the
future. John in the lonely isle of
looked forward to meeting his comparatively
few converts, at the coming of the Lord Jesus, as his "joy" and crown - how much greater will be the
"joy" of his Lord when He meets His
blood-bought converts, in multitude more than man can number! Then shall He see of the travail of His soul
and be satisfied. But the consummation of His Joy will no doubt be when He shall reign for a thousand years with those counted worthy to reign with Him. Who then will "enter
into the Joy" of their Lord? And who will hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful
over a few things, I will set thee over many things"? Thank God this wonderful joy rests not on
great achievements, nor special genius, but
on faithfulness; so that the
weakest and poorest disciple has a chance to achieve it.
Alas, for those servants - servants still, but found
unfaithful - who shall be "cast into
outer-darkness," outside the bright
dramatic incident occurred at a wedding in