Hidden in Plain View

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I have heard and read that verse so many times that I can quote it in my sleep. Yet, it wasn't until recently that a part of that passage jumped out at me. Referring to Jesus, the Bible says "who for the joy that was set before HIM" (emphasis mine). I had always read the words, but in my mind I was thinking of the joy that was set before us as Christians. What joy is set before Christ? After all, He left a place of perfect peace and joy to come and die on a cruel cross for our sins. Now, He is in Heaven again, but if that's the joy this verse is speaking of, why would He have left Heaven in the first place?

I believe that the joy spoken of here is the joy of knowing that He purchased our salvation and that, if we've accepted that payment, we will spend all eternity with Him. We are the joy that was set before Him. He is looking forward to spending eternity with us just as we are looking forward to spending it with Him. I don't know about you, but that new revelation has made this passage far more precious to me. Jesus is waiting for me with open arms and a huge smile on His face. The eternal celebration is imminent. Will you be there?