Summary: Jesus did not pray for us to have worldly joy but rather to have his joy. What does his joy look like and what can destroy it?
We are now four weeks past Palm Sunday and three weeks past Easter. However, today I want us to go back to the last night Jesus had with the disciples. He washes their feet to teach them humility and servant hood. He begins to reveal to them the fact that He must die. He gives them the promise of the Holy Spirit. He also promises them that the world would hate them.
In John 17 Jesus begins to pray. He prays for himself and his disciples. “After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.
I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.
My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.’”
Let us skip to verse 20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” From this verse, we gleam that Jesus is praying for us also. Over the next few weeks, we will begin to examine his prayers for us and how we can experience the power of his prayers.
This past week I posed the question “What brings you joy?”
Overwhelmingly the answer was family. Someone answered “sunshine”. For some, it was possessions. Others it was hobbies. Even some answered their jobs brought them joy.
But what happens to your joy when you lose that job? What happens to your joy when the fish don’t bite? What happens to your joy when your possessions are stolen? What happens to your joy when the sun doesn’t shine? What happens to your joy when your spouse disappoints you or your child rebels against you? That kind of joy is fleeting. That is not the kind of joy that Jesus prayed for us to have.
John 17:13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.”
Jesus did not pray for us to be filled with joy but rather his joy. What does his joy look like? Max Lucado expressed it better than anyone did.
"No man had more reason to be miserable than this one – yet no man was more joyful.
His first home was a palace. Servants were at his fingertips. The snap of his fingers changed the course of history. His name was known and loved. He had everything – wealth, power, respect. And then he had nothing.
Students of the event still ponder it. Historians stumble as they attempt to explain it. How could a king lose everything in one instant? One moment he was royalty; the next he was in poverty.
His bed became, at best, a borrowed pallet – and usually the hard earth. He never owned even the most basic mode of transportation and was dependent upon handouts for his income. He was sometimes so hungry he would eat raw grain or pick fruit off a tree. He knew what it was like to be rained on, to be cold. He knew what it meant to have no home.
His palace grounds had been spotless; now he was exposed to filth. He had never known disease, but was now surrounded by illness.
In his kingdom he had been revered; now he was ridiculed. His neighbors tried to lynch him. Some called him a lunatic. His family tried to confine him to their house.