I traveled to Israel 7 years ago now, and there were so many things that I saw and learned that left a lasting impression on me. But there was one experience I’ll never forget.
Our guide took all 40 of us to what is believed to be Golgotha’s hill, or more commonly known as Calvary–where Christ died. When we arrived I was struck by how seemingly insignificant the hill was, and how much smaller it was in person than I had envisioned it to be in my mind.
It was truly a common hill, for a very uncommon Savior.
We stood there taking in the scene and, for me at least, time-traveling and imagining what that scene would have really looked and felt like. As I was back in ancient times, I was quickly disrupted by a startling statement from the guide.
The guide said, “don’t be fooled by the commonness of this hill, for there is much more here than what meets the eye.” I looked around and was confused because I didn’t see anything extraordinary. I’m sure the guide saw our perplexed expressions, but he didn’t seem compelled to hurry and clear up our confusion. He just let it all sink in, and allowed us to try and figure out what could be so remarkable about where we stood.
Finally, the guide went on to explain that although the view of this hill was common, it was rather the view beyond this hill that was most uncommon. He then pointed and our eyes were drawn to what is known as the Garden tomb, or the Garden of Joseph of Arimathea.
He went on… “So, from where we stand now–the place where Christ was crucified–do you see that view right over there? Well, that is actually the tomb from which Jesus would rise from.”
We all looked dumbfounded… How incredible it was to think that the eyes of our Savior laid upon the very future he would embrace in just three days from that fateful and gruesome day of crucifixion. Resurrection life awaited Him…and He could see it, literally right in front of him as he was suffering.
Instantly this verse came billowing into my mind:
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
That verse became so real and alive to me in that moment. Christ literally had the end in view…the joy of resurrection and all that implies was what motivated him to fight through the pain he was enduring.
He knew the joy of resurrection meant a future that included us–and that was His ultimate joy. The tomb where he would rise from meant although He would appear defeated now, He would rise, not just undefeated, but with arms full of the people He loved.
He is our example to keep the end in view.
What is that end? Joy. Always joy.
“Weeping endures for a night, but JOY comes in the morning.”
And as for Christ so for us. HE is our joy on the other side of our pain. We gain Him, as He gained us as a reward for His sacrifice.
So, whatever proverbial common, painful, and unremarkable hill we may be standing on today, we can always keep the end in view. We can keep Jesus and a promised bright future in view so we can keep taking one day at a time, until our promises turn into a reality.