From Dag Hammarskjold…
“For the sacrificed-in the hour of sacrifice-only one thing counts:faith – alone among the enemies and skeptics. Faith, in spite of the humiliation which is both the necessary precondition and the consequence of faith, faith without any hope of compensation other than he can find in a faith which reality seems so thoroughly to refute.
Would the Crucifixion have had any sublimity or meaning if Jesus had seen himself crowned with the halo of martyrdom? What we have added later was not there for him. And we must forget all about it if we are to hear his commands.”
That is what the author of Hebrews is getting at when he write about Jesus being the “author and perfector of our faith (Heb 12:2).” For the inheritors of tradition, any religious tradition, there is the halo of martyrdom. Your life in its end transcends and becomes about your testimony. Martyr after all just meant witness. But Jesus was paraded through Jerusalem and hung on the cross rejected by everybody. His co-religionist, the Jews, were the ones who pressed the case. His state, only concerned about power and its maintenance as all states are, perverted justice to the louder voices. Even his friends betrayed and ran. Nobody saw or accepted his witness, except the Father. And even that was behind the darkness from the sixth to the ninth hours, the last breaths. He hung there in faith. For the joy that was set before him that only he could see and only through the eyes of faith. The joy for us is more visible, because we see Him. He gave the true offering, believing the absolute love of the Father. Even for one condemned and forgotten.