There was once a young boy who went to spend the week with his grandfather on the farm. While walking around he noticed the chickens, they were scratching and playing around. The little lad said, “They ain’t got it”. Next he saw a colt in the field playing and kicking up its heel’s to which he replied, “He ain’t got it”. After examining all of the animals on his grandfather’s farm and see that none of them had “it”, this boy finally found the old donkey in the barn. When he saw the donkey’s long, frowning face and the way that the donkey just stood there he screamed for his grandfather to come quick. “I found it, I found it” the boy kept yelling. When his grandfather asked what he had found he said, “Pawpaw, I found an animal that has the same kind of religion that you have.”
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:11, NIV.
This was a strange time to talk of joy. In a short time, Jesus would be in Gethsemane. The time when Jesus speaks about his own joy is when he is approaching the most difficult time of his life. Two things to notice:
Jesus’s joy is something unique, differing from the world’s joy, if it still remained with Him in His hour of darkness.
If Jesus was joyful now at the time of his greatest sorrow, His life must have been a life of joy.
Many think of Jesus as a man of sorrows and this is true but this ignores other aspects of his life. “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”” Hebrews 1:9, NIV. Also, we see that children loved Jesus and wanted to be around Him. Children shun those who are gloomy and habitually sad and sorrowful.
When we see that Jesus was a man of joy, we also need to realize that this should characterize our lives. We ought to be joyful in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
Thesis: Jesus’ joy was of an 7 fold character
The Joy of His Father’s Presence
“The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”” John 8:29, NIV. Jesus’ source of joy was the enjoyment of His Father’s presence. Only once was this presence lost to Him, on the cross. We see this when he cried out, ““Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”--which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”” Matthew 27:46, NIV.
“Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23, NIV. Many people want a pardon from hell, but they do not want the Governor living with them. When Jesus pardons us, he comes in and lives with us. Jesus is not our get out of jail free card; He is within us.
The Joy of the Father’s Approval
“The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”” John 8:29, NIV. Jesus put a smile on the Father’s face.
Only through Christ can we enjoy the smile of God. “His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalms 147:10, 11, NIV. Jesus said that the most important command in the Bible is this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 NIV). Loving God with every fiber of our being is the most important thing we will ever do with our lives. He already loves us. And when we look at the world around us, the universe that he made for us and the salvation he has provided for us through Jesus Christ, how can we not love him in return and put a smile on His face?
The Joy of submission to the Father’s Will
““Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”” Luke 22:42, NIV.
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered” Hebrews 5:7, 8, NIV
“Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!” Hebrews 12:9, NIV.
The Joy of Ruling
For Jesus: ““‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”’” Matthew 22:44, NIV.
“For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” 1 Corinthians 15:25, NIV.
For us: ““His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” Matthew 25:21, NIV.
Man was made to be God’s representative on earth. It is natural for him to rule. However, through the fall he lost that joy. But, thank God, through the cross it can be regained. Through the grace of God we are able to rule ourselves, and by and by we will reign with Jesus Christ. “if we endure, we will also reign with him. ” 2 Timothy 2:12, NIV. “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 22:5, NIV.
The Joy of Answered Prayer
“I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”” John 11:42, NIV.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14, 15, NIV.
"Expect an answer. If no answer is desired, why pray? True prayer has in it a strong element of expectancy."
The Joy of Service
“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:12-15, NIV.
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” Mark 10:45, NIV.
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13, NIV.
The Joy of Anticipation
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV.
Robert George won the Leland Award for Religious Liberty recently. In his acceptance speech he expressed dismay that Christians in America are not speaking out against the persecution of many different religious groups, including Christians. George concluded, “We have a duty to speak up. Yes, for everyone, but everyone includes Christians, too.
No American on U.S. soil has yet experienced the loss of life, property, and civil rights for professing faith in Christ in the ways that have afflicted Christians in communist countries, totalitarian dictatorships, and violent revolutions. Yet, American culture has reached a time when intolerance against Christian principles is wide spread. On a routine basis, Christians supporting what the Bible says are called bigots, hate-mongers, and, in Phil Robertson’s case, “a surviving brain donor.”
For American Christians who feel that those suffering for their faith in Pakistan or Iran are not of concern, one needs only to heed the words of Martin Niemöller of Germany after World War II: First they came for the Communists and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.
“You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.” Hebrews 10:34, NIV.