Verse 2 of Hebrews 12 gives a complete outline of the Gospel. In this verse we see the
"Who, What, Why, and Where" concerning Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. The text points to Jesus, explains who he is, tells what he did, why he did it, and where he is now.
"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."
1. Jesus. The Who of our affection. The text identifies him as the "author and finisher of our faith." It is in Jesus Christ that we find all needed salvation. In Rev 22:13 Jesus said, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." In the Gospel of John chapter 1 it says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word became flesh." Jesus also refers to himself as being with God when the world was created.
A. The author of our faith: Hebrews 11 gives references to a great cloud of witness this is the old testament saints that looked to Jesus before he was incarnated but he was in at that time with the Father. He had given the promise to Abraham before that the need for a savior was realized in the garden. It was Jesus that the God of Heaven had promised to bless all nations of the earth. He is also symbolized by the sacrifices made during the Old Testament laws.
B. The finisher of our faith. In John 17:4 Jesus said that he had finished the work that the father had sent him to do. John 19:30 while on the cross he said, "It is Finished." With those words he closed the book on faith. He did not close faith; he finished the work that must have been done to offer it to the world.
C. Hebrews 1:1-12 gives a further description of Jesus as being, before now and to come. He is eternal. He is the only name that man can be saved by. It is for this reason we look to Jesus.
2. The Cross is the, what of our text. It is the blood of Jesus that will wash away our sin. Jesus endured the Cross and he despised the shame of the Cross. He found No GLORY IN THE CROSS. Paul found Glory in the Cross, Peter may have rejoiced in the crucifixion of Christ and every soul may find comfort in the Cross of Jesus, but the fact remains that Jesus despised the Cross but endured it anyway.
A. He endured the Cross. We can read in the Gospels about the abuse that he endured. First, Judas betrayed him as a friend. Leading the mob of priest and Pharisees at a distance he went and kissed Jesus to identify him without being identified as being with the mob. Have you ever had someone stab you in the back? Think about the scar that this stabbing left.
B. The shame of the cross, to us we see no shame in the cross of Jesus. We see the glory. But Deutaronomy tells us that cursed is the man that hangs on a tree. The cross prior to the Roman Empire was nothing more than a pole with a cross member close to the top that prevented the body that was thrust onto it from sliding to the ground. It is very probable that the gallows, which Haman built for Mordcia in the book of Ester, are of this type. The Romans modified the use of the cross by tying or nailing the hands and feet to the cross to lengthen the amount of torture. The cross was reserved for the most deprised criminals. Yet Jesus endured the cross despising the shame at the same time.
3. The WHY of the text is You and I. He endured the cross for the JOY that was set before him.
A. He did it to fulfill the work the Father had sent Him to complete. In obeying the Father, the Father honored Him and set him at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus was the sacrifice.
As God provided the lamb for Abraham and his house, God also provided the Lamb for the whole world. The only way the sins of man can be covered is by the shedding of blood, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Satan had taken the dominion away from man in the garden. Satan has power on the earth. Jesus has established His kingdom not made with hands, it is not of this world. It will be one day but for the present Satan still has power to control those that are not of the Kingdom of God.