Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Eternity Past and Eternity Future

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. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (Hebrews 12:2-3 NKJV)

What is Joy?

Joy is usually defined as gladness.  We sometimes say joy comes from within and happiness is circumstantial and comes from without.  Happiness in the new testament is associated with blessing or with being blessed.  Joy is something we can enJOY even in trying circumstances.  The opposite of joy is sorrow.  

What is the Lord’s Joy?

It appears that the Lord endured the cross and despised the shame because of the glory (beauty and honor) that would be His after the agonies of the cross.  Part of that would be the obtaining of a bride.  But did He anticipate this for an eternity past? I believe He did, and it was knowing what would be on the other side of the cross that would have been His encouragement.  We know that when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He agonized over His coming crucifixion.  He had apparently talked to Moses and Elijah about it on the Mount of Transfiguration.  I would have thought the cross would have been constantly before Him in an eternity past; and, when His hour was come, the burden seems to have been unbearable.  Angels had to strengthen Him.  His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

I do not think He was a superman that this did not bother in the eternity past, although He didn’t become a man until His birth at Bethlehem.  I am sure that Satan knew the seriousness of the cross when He tempted Him to bypass the cross in order to obtain the kingdoms of this world during His temptation in the wilderness.  

The way I get past a painful experience (like going to the dentist) is to think about when it will be over and what the benefits are going to be.  I know I may be over-humanizing the preincarnate Lord Jesus,  but it appears to me that the way the Lord handled His anticipation of the coming agonies of the cross was to consider the “joy that was set before Him.”  Now we are on the other side of that terrible Friday, and the Lord now is a coming King with a bride that loves Him.  

We think we Have it Bad!

Sometimes the future looks bleak.  There are Christians passing through great trials.  There have to be true believers affected by the fires in Maui, in the earthquake in Morocco, and now in the floods in Libya.  For a believer, things can be bad, but it is a fact that one day we are going to be on the other side of the sorrows of this life and we are going to be in a place where there are “pleasures for evermore.” That is what motivates us.  

For the unsaved, the unbeliever, the rebellious, they are going to suffer eternally.  There will be no light at the end of the tunnel.  But for the believer, the person who is saved, who is truly born of the spirit, our trials will all come to an end.  Our tooth will get pulled.  Our sicknesses will be healed.  Our funerals will be over.  Our sorrows get turned to joy.  Paul says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory  (2 Corinthians 4:17, NKJV).”

I am glad that I am a believer and that I am saved!  Any sorrow that we as believers experience now will be nothing compared to the joy that we will experience when we are with the Lord for the eternity future.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of September 10, 2023

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