“Let us run…the race marked out for us.” Heb 12:1 NIV
Look what Jesus endured: (1) Temptation. We imagine the wilderness temptation as three isolated events scattered over a forty-day period. No: “The devil tempted Jesus for forty days” (Lk 4:2 NCV). Every step, whispering in His ear. Every turn of the path, sowing doubt; forty days of non-stop temptation! When it was over Satan would flee, angels would come and strengthen Him, and He would leave the wilderness to go out and minister as no one ever has. But first He had to get through the temptation. So do you. And the good news is, strengthened by God’s grace, you can. (2) Accusation. “Some said, ‘He is a good man.’ Others replied, ‘No, he deceives the people’” (Jn 7:12 NIV). “The Jews then said, ‘That clinches it. We were right all along when we…said you were crazy—demon possessed!’” (Jn 8:48 TM). They accused Him unfairly, but Jesus kept running. You must too. (3) Rejection. His family thought He was mad. The neighbors treated Him badly. When He returned to His home town they tried to throw Him off a cliff (See Lk 4:29). But Jesus kept running. So must you. (4) Shame. At the cross He became “sin” personified (2Co 5:21). Though He never stole, lied, or lusted, He bore the shame of every thief, liar, and adulterer. How did Jesus do it? What kept Him going? The Bible answers: “Who for the joy set before him endured” (Heb 12:2 NIV). Jesus had already lived in heaven, and knowing what awaited Him enabled Him to endure and finish the race. And the same joy awaits you too.
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