They looked with wonder and anticipation; they were not certain what they were looking at or for, but they knew they had a promise.1 Like the image of Kilroy, they were here and desperately wanted to know, but there was a fence of their future that we now know as our history. They had the details, marked locations, and moments, but they didn’t, or rather weren’t able, to connect all the dots; they weren’t able to see it with our 20/20 hindsight.
Paul writes and calls it, “the mystery kept hidden for ages.”2
This mystery crafted the resolute joy in Jesus’ heart, so much so, that this is the reason Hebrews says he went through with the brutal, inhuman torture and death. It was, “For the joy that set before him.”3
Joy wasn’t just reuniting with the Father; that was his rightful place.
The joy came as he looked into the future, now our history. He saw the exponential outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh, (4+5) the mystery of God accomplished. He had to die and rise again to get the job done. He saw an intrinsically thorough, life-transforming work that would happen everywhere all at once and would happen through anyone who believed, because of the price of his sacrifice.
That motivated him to the core. You and I are part of that motivational joy.
As you muse on the price paid, so that you can live in relationship with God, think about the joy that moved Jesus to accomplish his task.
Maybe it will motivate you to accomplish yours. Maybe it will commission you for your task.
You Don’t Have To; You Get To!
1) Ephesians 3:6 (NIV)
This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
2) Colossians 1:25-27 (NIV)
I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
3) Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)
…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
4) Acts 2:16-17a (NIV)
No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people…”
5) Acts 10:44-45 (NIV)
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.