“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2
Jesus began His earthly ministry ushered in by angels proclaiming to a field of shepherds, ‘good tidings of great joy’, And He, Jesus ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.’ For the joy set before Him, He lived a sinless, gracious, and truth filled life – a life that we could not live. And, for the joy that was set before Him, He died an agonizing and shameful death – a death that we all deserved.
With that in mind, as we approach a new year, a time when we contemplate new beginnings, we should all look 'unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.' He began His earthly mission with great joy and He finished it ‘for the joy that was set before Him.’ In the same way, as we press into 2023, we can look to Him for inspiration and motivation to press on and press in – for the joy that is now set before us! We press on because it’s the joy of the Lord that is our strength! We ‘lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us’ and we move forward knowing that because He did … we can!
Pray with me.
Father God, thank You for sending us Your Son, born of a virgin, born in a manger. Lord Jesus, thank You for being our example. Thank You for being the ‘author’ and ‘finisher’ of our faith and for showing us the JOY that is set now before us – the truth that because I have received you as Lord and Savior, I am now seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Show me this year, the path of my life – the truth, that ‘in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ Holy Spirit, thank You for the fruit of joy that you will increase in my life this coming year. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
Rejoicing in Hope!
Vice President, National Day of Prayer Task Force