Have you ever wondered what kept Christ going as He prayed over His impending death in the Garden of Gethsemane? If you stop and think about it, there wasn't much to encourage Him. He knew His disciples were hanging by a thread that would soon snap. He was aware of Judas approaching with betrayal, as well as the suffering of the cross.
The book of Hebrews tells us that something divine kept Christ going. It says, "Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was 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). What kept Jesus going? It was the divine joy that sat before Him.
But what was that joy? Jesus told the story of a shepherd who had a lamb that went astray. The shepherd went after it and sought it out, and brought it back rejoicing. Then Jesus said, " 'there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents' " (Luke 15:10). Jesus told another parable saying that the kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field (see Matthew 13:44). When a man finds it, he hides it again. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
You see, we are the sheep that went astray and that treasure hidden in a field. We are that joy for which Christ suffered and died. We can proclaim along with the Apostle Paul, "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). Let us ponder this truth so that we might appreciate what Jesus experienced in Gethsemane and on the cross.