Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our 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. Heb 12:2 NKJV
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23b NKJV
March was an incredibly busy month of ministry for us. A big portion of this past month was spent preparing our new campground in Big Bend and running our first trip out of it. It was such an incredible blessing to see months of hard work come together, and watch a place that had once been an undeveloped hill in the desert become a spring of life for 21 people.
As I was setting up our new pavilion, at one point I lifted a large beam that was about 12 ft tall and had to carry it on my shoulders about 200 ft. I was struck by the weight and substance of the beam. A momentary glimpse of Christ walking the Via Dolorosa (The Way of Suffering) to Calvary came to my mind. I connected personally with his suffering in a way I never have before.
Church tradition tells us that the path to Calvary was around 650 yards and the beam that Christ carried was between 80 and 110 pounds. It’s hard for me to imagine the difficulty of carrying something so weighty such a long distance, not to mention the fact that Jesus was horribly beaten beyond recognition by this point. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus’ motivation for bearing this burden was the joy set before Him. It is difficult to reconcile such an image of brutality and death with the idea of joy, and yet our savior found delight in His obedience to the Father through bearing the burden of our sin and paying our debt once and for all on the cross.