The Prequel: Jesus As Our Example
“But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand
of the power of God.” (Luke 22:69 NASB)
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,
Who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NASB)
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” (James 1:2 NASB)
This is the first in a series of articles on the subject of “Persevering Through Trials.” We all encounter trials. So, it is never a question of whether we will encounter them but rather how we will go through them. Over the next few articles, we will explore God’s will, plan and provision for us in the midst of our trials and temptations. I have titled this one as “The Prequel” because the other articles in the series will be primarily based on the book of James. We will begin our study by looking at how Jesus dealt with the ultimate trial that was placed before Him.
By observing Jesus’ example, we will see that whatever the trial or temptation, the victory can be experienced before it is actually over. The victory begins with the perspective we have while we are going through the trial. There was an old Gospel Song that used to say, “We don’t have to wait till the battle is over to shout. We can shout now!” Jesus’ victorious perspective is seen in Luke 22:69 quoted above.
Jesus, standing before the religious and Roman leaders prior to His crucifixion, was facing both a trial and a temptation. The trial was the bodily harm He endured and would endure. The temptation was all the opportunities He was given to vindicate Himself and save His own life. We too face trials. They may be financial, relational or loss of some sort. We all definitely face the temptation to disobey God and follow our flesh.
Jesus’ statement in Luke 22:69 gives us the secret to His endurance and the key to our ability to come through trials and temptations victoriously. As He stood before the Sanhedrin, He made the statement recorded in that verse. The key words there are “from now on.” Meaning that at that moment a change occurred. It was a change in perspective and sense of reality. At that moment, a shift happened. Jesus saw Himself as already seated at the right hand of the Father. This observation is supported by Hebrews 12:2 that is also quoted above. The key phrase being “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross..” The verb, set, is one that indicates a continuous or repeated action of that which lies ahead (Key Word Bible, AMG Publishers). “The joy”, I believe was two-fold. First, It was our redemption from the power and penalty of sin. Second, It was His glorification of being seated at the right hand of God. Jesus’ endurance was the result of unwavering love for us and a heavenly perspective of seeing Himself as already on the other side of the trial.
The same perspective is available to us. Colossians 2:20-3:4 and James 1:2-4 admonishes us to lay hold of the promises that God has given us in His Word. In Colossians, Paul is giving the church at Colossae the key to victory over their flesh. He says the victory is not in punishing the flesh but rather in changing their perspective. By setting their minds/affections on ‘the things above where Christ is seated.” (Colossians 3:1) So it is with us as well.
In Ephesians chapter 2, it is written that we as believers in Christ are co-seated with Him at the right hand of the Father. That is a place of power, authority, and influence. We must see ourselves in that place that is above all earthly and demonic powers (Ephesians 1:20-22). We are to look to Him (Jesus) from where our help comes (Hebrews 4:16). This sheds light on how James 1:2 can be possible where he says to “count it all joy” when we encounter trials. Not only because we have our sights on eternal promises and our position in Christ but because there is a transformational purpose in the trial. That purpose is to bring us to spiritual maturity that mirrors the nature of Christ (James 1:3,4; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
There is a criticism that has been going around for years that some people are “So heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.” That is not a completely accurate statement. Truly heavenly minded people are the most earthly good. They are the ones receiving orders from “headquarters” on how to proceed and fulfill God’s plan in their situation. Jesus was heavenly minded and He changed the course of history and our eternal destiny through His endurance and obedience unto death. Let us be so heavenly minded.
Let us daily fix our attention on seeing ourselves in Christ and seated at the right hand of God, the Father – our Father rather than just under the trial or temptation. Let us rejoice in the midst of our trial knowing that God hears our prayers, is working everything out for our good (Romans 8:28), and that we are in a place of authority over the enemy of our souls. Let us fill our hearts with the promises of God and allow them to change our perspective. Jesus knew who he was and where He was seated. May God help us to have the same revelation so that we may experience the victory even before the trial is over. Let’s pray.
Lord, we love You and thank you so much for giving Your life for ours. Help us by Your Holy Spirit to see ourselves for who we really are even in the midst of our trials. Help us to be heavenly minded knowing that You are working all things out for our good. Help us to see You as bigger than our circumstances so that we may count it all as joy. We thank you and bless you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Article Written By: Shermaine Jones