Following Jesus can be hard.
That’s the truth.
The Scripture tells us how to find the strength to carry on. We need to consider Jesus so we won’t grow weary and lose heart.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3, Bold added)
As I consider Jesus and the hostility He endured it gives me strength to do the same. Three events stand out the most to me. I pray they will encourage your heart as you consider Jesus and run your race today.
1. Jesus Served His Betrayer. We all know that Judas betrayed Christ. Jesus knew Judas was going to betray Him, too. Even so, at the last supper Jesus washed the feet of all his disciples.
During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. … For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.” (John 13:2-5, 11)
Jesus knew the betrayal was coming. He chose to serve and love anyway. Jesus embodied the call to love your enemies.
2. Jesus Healed A Hater. When the mob came to arrest Jesus secretly under cover of darkness one of Jesus’ disciples foolishly resorted to violence. This violence resulted in a man’s ear being cut off. Jesus put a stop to it.
Then Jesus healed the man who came to take Him away by force.
And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.” (Luke 22:50-53)
Jesus embodied the call to do good to those who hate you.
3. Jesus Prayed For His Persecutors. On the cross Jesus never lost sight of His mission to seek and save the lost. While dying in fulfillment of the Scriptures for the salvation of all who will come to Him by faith He prayed for those who mocked and ridiculed Him. He prayed for the forgiveness of the very ones who nailed Him to that tree.
When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” (Luke 23:33-37)
Jesus embodied the call to pray for those who mistreat you.
Are you running the race with endurance today? Are you casting off every encumbrance which would hinder you from honoring Christ with every word, thought, and deed?
Find the strength to endure by casting your eyes upon Jesus. Consider Him who endured. By His grace we can go forth and do likewise. For the sake of His great name.
but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:5-6)