[Jesus], for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
I imagine Jesus as a joyful person. He brought great joy to others. Even when he faced the biggest challenge of his life, the cross, he focused on the joy beyond it all. In this way, he revealed the joy of the resurrection, before it happened: he was full of life.
So what motivates you to persevere when you face challenges?
The Old Testament tells the story of how the people of Israel were led by God through the desert. Having been rescued from slavery in Egypt, they were guided by God’s presence and sustained by the food he provided. They were also motivated by God’s promise that he would lead them to a new home.
Likewise, we are told that Jesus endured the suffering of crucifixion with his eyes set on the joy of God’s eternal Kingdom. Each of us is invited by God to participate in Jesus’ journey, responding to God’s calling, sharing God’s life and serving God’s Kingdom by contributing to the common good.
When we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection at Easter, we are celebrating the promise of a world which has been completely transformed, raised from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection is a foretaste of what has been promised: a joy-filled world. We persevere in our service of God and of the world because we know the one who has been raised from the dead and who has shared the joy of his resurrection life with us.
“Christ is Risen!” expresses both the joy of Jesus’ resurrection, and the hope of a world transformed by God’s love. This Easter, I pray that you will discover afresh that joy.
The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester.