“keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so that you won’t grow weary and give up.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
Have you ever had somebody do something for you that went way over the top? How did you feel toward them afterwards? You were grateful to be sure, but did you feel a sense of duty toward them? There’s a chance the greater the thing that was done for you, the deeper the sense of duty toward the doer went. And perhaps you managed to work yourself out from under that weight of duty, but you may not have. You may still have someone you feel like you need to serve because of the pressing sense of dutiful gratitude you have for them.
Well, the reality is that whether you are aware of it or not, there is someone who has done something for you that went so far over the top that you’ll never get out from under its shadow. The thing is, if we’re not aware of the thing that was done, we’re not going to feel that sense of grateful duty.
Here’s what happened: Jesus died for you. For you. Yes, for everybody else too, but for you. Now, you might wonder how that worked. How could He die for you so long ago? How could He die for you when you didn’t even know you were facing any kind of a death sentence? I mean, when He died you weren’t around to have done anything wrong.
Jesus’ death was to defeat sin. He broke the power of sin to hold anyone under its life-stealing thumb. If you have sinned—and you have sinned—then His death was for you. If you enjoy life, or even just want to enjoy life, free from the heavy burden of sin, His death was for you. You owe Him a debt of duty. Thankfully, He’s also made clear the nature of the duty we owe Him: to love one another.
But, loving one another is hard, isn’t it? With some people and in some situations it’s especially hard. Following Jesus and staying on the path of life He blazed is hard. That’s where what the writer of Hebrews said here comes in. When it gets hard, we need only look to the deed that drives our duty for encouragement.
If Jesus could endure the cross and all that so terribly went along with it so that we can walk the path of life, surely we can keep walking even when the way gets rough. If He could do that for us, surely we can love one another for His sake. After all, what’s loving one another compared to a cross? Until we face more than a cross standing in our way—and we’ll never face more than that—we can keep pressing forward without growing weary or giving up no matter what rises to face us.