Sunday Sermon: ‘Looking Unto Jesus’ pt 2


(audio version)

Hebrews 12:2 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.

During this Easter season we are considering the encouragement of Hebrews 12:2 – ‘Looking unto Jesus.’ As we look unto to Jesus, we see Christ and the Cross; Christ and the Crown; and Christ and the Christian.

I. Christ and the Cross

Last week we considered Christ and the Cross. Scripture says – “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…”

A. The Suffering of the Cross

During the final hours of His life, Christ suffered far more than we can ever possibly imagine. He suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually. We read from the prophecy of Isaiah –

Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

B. The Shame of the Cross

In addition to the suffering of the cross was the shame of the cross. Our passage today tells us that He ‘endured the cross, despising the shame.’ We learned last week the reason for the shame.

Galatians 3:10 Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Someone has called this the Great Exchange. The guilt of our sin was placed on His account and the glory of His righteousness was placed upon ours.

II. Christ and the Crown

Today we come to the second theme found in Hebrews 12:2 – Christ and the Crown.

Hebrews 12:2 …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.

The Bible teaches us that it was the ‘joy set before’ Jesus that enabled Him to endure the suffering and shame. What joy was this and how did it sustain our Savior?

A. The Joy of Reconciling Relationships

Why would Jesus endure so much suffering on the cross? Why would someone, who was innocent, allow others to abuse Him? It was the joy of knowing that through His suffering, a way would be made for us to be reconciled with the Father.

Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

The word ‘reconcile’ means to return to favor. We learn from the book of Genesis that God made man in His own image, yet because man chose to disobey God, a wall went up between God and man. That wall is called sin. Sin separates us from God. Recently I was asked if God hears the prayers of someone who has never been saved. Consider what the Bible says –

Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

‘Iniquity’ is another word for sin. According to the passage we just read, sin keeps us from having a relationship with God. The book of Habakkuk declares this concerning God – “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.” (Hab 1:13 NIV)

Sin causes God to turn His eyes from us. Sin also causes us to turn our eyes from God.

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

The person who is not a Christian may believe that there is a God and they may want to play a game of religion now and then, but they don’t desire God and His holiness. They want God on their terms. Here’s a great truth: if Jesus had not endured the cross, we would never know God and even worse, we wouldn’t care.

But God cares. The Bible says –

Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth (exhibited) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Salvation is a relationship. It’s being reconciled back to Him and coming to know Him as your Lord and as your Friend. It’s being able to pray and know that He hears. It’s reading His Word and learning to walk in His ways. It’s becoming a new creation.

Have you been reconciled to God? Have you admitted before God that you are a sinner in His sight? Have you come to the point to realize that Jesus died for your sins? Have you asked God for forgiveness and for Christ to become the Lord of your life? Have you asked to be restored to the original relationship?

B. The Joy of Returning to the Father

Where is Jesus today? Our passage from the book of Hebrews tells us that He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. The body of Jesus is no longer in a grave. The Bible says –

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

That Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross is a historical fact that few deny. It is also known and attested to in scripture that after His death, they laid His lifeless body in a grave; a stone tomb hewn out of the side of a mountain. As was the custom of that day, they rolled a massive stone across the opening of that tomb in order to seal His grave.

The religious leaders, who hated Jesus, feared that the Lord’s disciples might steal His body, so therefore they went to Pilate and asked for Romans guards to be posted as an extra precautionary measure.(see Matt 27:62-66) But just as Jesus had said, on the third day after His death, something miraculous happened.

The stone was found rolled away and His body was gone! Just as Jesus had said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn 2:19) Scripture tells us that the temple He spoke of was His body.

The resurrection of Jesus was a major part of the early church’s preaching.

In Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, Peter preached about the resurrection, just fifty days since it had happened. Today the resurrection seems so far away that it’s hard for us to imagine, but can you imagine preaching about it in the same city where it occurred, less than two months after it had happened? Some might have mocked Peter and said, ‘What are you talking about man? His tomb is just over that hill.’ But they couldn’t say that and you know why? Although the tomb where Jesus’ body was buried was only a short distance away, there was not body in it for His enemies to produce. His tomb was empty and everyone in Jerusalem knew it.

A few days later, Peter and John went to the Temple, the very place where most of Jesus’ enemies gathered; and do you know what Peter preached; the resurrection of Christ. Hearing about his preaching, Christ’s enemies became upset and threatened to beat His disciples. But Peter said,

Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified , whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

If you carefully study the first few chapters of the book of Acts, you will learn that both tongues and the miracles were for the purpose of testifying that Jesus is alive. The message of the early disciples was simple:

1. Jesus is the Messiah

2. His resurrection proves this and it attested to by the supernatural

3. Therefore men ought to repent and believe

What put such courage in a man who less than two months before that day, denied that he even knew Jesus? Peter went and visited the empty tomb. Peter was personally visited by the resurrected Christ. And Peter, along with all the other disciple, stood and watched as Christ miraculously ascended up into the clouds and into glory.

Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame; and His Father rewarded Him with the miraculous resurrection.

Rom 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

If the death of Jesus had been like any other man, His body would still be in the grave. “But weren’t others resurrected from the dead also?” some might ask. Yes, Jesus Himself gave life to most of them. But there is something different in their resurrection and His; their bodies are lying somewhere in the ground today. Sometime later they died again. Their resurrection was only a temporary giving of life in order to prove that Jesus had power over death. But they died again. Jesus didn’t. Jesus ascended back to where He had come. Jesus today is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

 C. The Joy of Reigning in Eternity

Hebrews 12:2 …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.

Scripture says that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father. What is significant or important about that?

1. He is seated

Consider what we learn from scripture –

Hebrews 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Of all the beautiful pieces of furniture in the Old Testament Temple, there was no chair for the priest to sit in. The reason there was no chair is because his work was never finished. He offered the same sacrifices over and over again. Why? He did so because the offerings he made lacked the power to save someone from their sins. The sacrifices he made were animal sacrifices. Earlier in this same chapter we read –

Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Christ being now seated attests to the fact that His sacrifice was:

a. Complete

b. Sufficient

c. Everlasting

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

2. He is at the Father’s right hand 

Hebrews 12:2 …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.

The joy that sustained Jesus while on the cross was the joy of knowing that His sacrifice was reconciling our relationship with God. It was also the joy of knowing that soon His work would be complete and He would be returning to the Father. It was also the joy of knowing that He would reign in eternity. Jesus today is seated at the ‘right hand of the throne of God.’ Why at the right hand?

The right hand is a symbol of both honor and authority. John Piper writes – “The right hand of God is the place of ultimate authority along with God the Father.”

According to Hebrews 10, Jesus will remain there until – “his enemies be made his footstool.”

Hebrews 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Six times the phrase – “till his enemies be made his footstool” is repeated in scripture concerning Christ. This world has not seen the last of Jesus. The Bible tells us in the book of Revelation that one day, Jesus is returning to this earth, not bearing a cross, but wearing a crown. And behind Him will be the armies of heaven to defeat the enemies of God.  (see Revelation 19:11-16) And as scripture says – Revelation 11:The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

The first time He came, He came as a lamb. The next time He comes, He will come as a lion. The first time He came, He came as a Savior. The next time He comes, He will come as a King. The first time He came, He carried a cross. The next time He comes, He will wear a crown.

The tomb is empty my friend. Jesus isn’t there. Today He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, waiting for the moment when God the Father says that it is time for the sinful foolishness of this world to come to an end.

Will you be ready for His coming? Have you been reconciled back to God through Christ’s death on the cross? Have you received Him as your Savior?


Many years ago a great hymn was written that has help thousands come to Christ. Consider these words:

Just As I Am

 Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

 Words: Charlotte Elliot, 1835

Today is the day of salvation. Now is the accepted time.

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