Did Jesus Experience Joy while Suffering on the Cross?
Jesus, the Son of God, became a man to die a horrible death on the cross to pay for our sin. Worse than the physical pain was being forsaken by His Father as God poured His wrath out on Jesus because He had become sin for us. Jesus dreaded this moment so much that He prayed His Father to take the cup from Him (Matthew 26:39, 42; Mark 14: 36; Luke 22:42). Yet Jesus was determined to obey His Father’s will. Could it be that Jesus found reason for joy on the cross?
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Repentance on a Cross
Two thieves were crucified with Christ that Passover day. In their anger, pain and despair, they cursed God and mockingly called on His Son to save their wretched lives. (Matthew 27:43-44; Mark. 15:27-32)
As Christ was enduring His final temptations on the cross, one of the thieves, who had been reviling Him, repented. The repentant robber being crucified beside the Son of God came to his senses. He was about to die, so he began to fear God.
The repentant thief confessed his sin and admitted he deserved to die. He acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah and asked Him to remember him as He entered His kingdom. He called on God to save his wretched soul.
The repentant thief confessed his sin and admitted he deserved to die.
And what was God’s reply? “Today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
What did this criminal do to merit paradise? Nothing, he was on a cross. There was nothing he could do. He was never baptized; he never joined a church; he never had communion. He had no time or opportunity to do any good works. He just repented, believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and asked Him for mercy.
Jesus came to call sinners to repentance. The thief answered His call.
Jesus came to call sinners to repentance (Mark 2:17). And in those final hours, while in the midst of His greatest temptation and suffering, Jesus snatched a repentant sinner from the brink of hell and gave Him eternal life. Oh how it must have joyed the Savior’s heart to reap the first fruits of His suffering!
Look to the Cross!
If you have recognized your sin and need of salvation, then be like the repentant thief and turn to Jesus. Trust in His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead to pay for your sin. Confess your sin and believe in Jesus, the Son of God, as your crucified and risen Savior.
If you have already trusted in Jesus, but are undergoing trials or temptations, then lay aside every weight and patiently run your race with endurance. “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” (Hebrews 12:2).
Remember, joy and fruit may come even in the midst of trials.
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