“Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”  Hebrews 12:3

I’ve always been amazed at how easy it would have been for Jesus to say, “You know what?  No one here appreciates me.  I’ve changed my mind.  I’m not going to die for these people.  They just don’t deserve it.”

After all, consider what Jesus had to face.  His own disciples in effect abandoned Him.  Judas, His friend, betrayed Him.  Peter, His staunchest supporter denied he even knew Jesus (three times).  Then He was severely beaten – fists to the face, beard ripped out, thorns pressed into His head, back ripped open with whips, jeered at, laughed at, spit on…and then nailed to a cross.

Regardless of how on-again-off-again we are in our relationships, let me remind you that it was Jesus’ love for you that kept Him going.  Hebrews 12:2 tells us that “because of the joy awaiting Him, Christ endured the cross, disregarding its shame.”  What kind of joy awaited Him?  It was you.  It was me.  It was us.  Jesus did it all for us.  He knew there was no other way that we could be made right with God.  Verse 2 also tells us that Jesus is “the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”  Translated: God finishes what He starts.  He will complete the work in us.

You might say, “Nobody understands.  I cannot go on another day in these circumstances.”  And I would agree with you, but only if you are unwilling to take your eyes off yourself.  We need to face any and all trials with our focus on Jesus, not on our trials.  Consider how He went to the cross for you.  Jesus is the One (the only One) who will give you the strength to endure whatever you are going through.  When we take our eyes off the Lord and put them on people, or on the church, or on the circumstances, we will most likely start to stumble.  Let’s get our eyes off those things and look at Jesus.  He will never fail.  He will not let us down.  He will keep us running the races of our lives.  You and I winning that race is what gives Him joy.