You can’t have true joy over something unless you take pleasure in it. I’ve never
been able to feel pleasure when brussel sprouts are served; I can’t delight in them because I have no taste buds for them – and because I have nothing but disdain for the little green stinkers, I’ll never ask God to help me enjoy them.
People have taste buds (delight sensors) for all kinds of things in life. Jesus had them too. Listen to Jesus describe his inner taste buds:
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:8-13).
Let’s break this down: What does Jesus delight in – what is his Joy?
1. The Father’s Glory (all the character of his Father – merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in sacrificial, steadfast love, creative powers, wisdom, justice)
2. That His disciples bear fruit (Jesus loves to see the character of his Father coming out in your life by the Spirit)
3. That the Father loves Jesus (any child can relate to this when a father shows complete pleasure and approval)
4. That Jesus shares this love with the disciples (it is so joyful to share with others what delights you)
5. That obedience to Jesus’ commandments leads to abiding in his love – this is how Jesus lived his life towards his Father, and now you can share in this also (every child feels complete with joy when they know that they are pleasing mom and dad – Jesus wants you to feel this as he does with his Father)
6. To share this truth with the disciples will have the consequence of Jesus’ Joy remaining in their lives and that their joy will be complete (as they too learn to lay down their lives for others)
The Joy of Jesus is that we increasingly come to know the Father the way Jesus
knows the Father, and I think, that even the sharing of this information brings joy to Jesus. It is always exciting and thrilling on the part of the messenger to tell wonderful things to someone else so that they too can have the same joy. We are even bummed when we express excitement with someone and they respond with a boring yawn. We regretfully reply, “guess you had to be there.”
The Joy of Jesus is not only delighting in his Father’s essence but Jesus’ joy is also
bringing you into a knowledge of the Father’s glory, his beautiful character. Jesus is thrilled that you would know what excites him. The world does not understand this because they do not know Jesus intimately. And sad to say, many genuine disciples do not understand this either because their taste buds, their delight sensors are so stimulated by other things that they cannot feel or sense the joy of Jesus.
Man was once offered this joy, the knowledge of God, but he rejected this means of joy for lesser joys of the world. God gave him up to be thrilled with his own passions and now man is incapable of delighting in and tasting God. Just like I will never ask God to help me love brussel sprouts, so a sinner will never ask God to give him an inner joy for God. It is contrary to sinful nature to even want to desire that which is offensive. Our only hope is that God would sovereignly give us new delight sensors for him because the original ones have been totally desensitized to the things of God.
Jesus delighted in his Father – this was Jesus’ Joy. To tell others of who his Father is and what He is like brought even more joy to Jesus: “. . . but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15b). Jesus was pursuing his joy by telling the disciples about his Father. It is true that thousands of people who heard Jesus speak of the Father just quietly walked away. Can you hear Jesus say to those who cannot enjoy this good news, “I guess you had to be there – in heaven with the Father’s Glory to get excited
about what I am telling you.”
How do we get Jesus’ Joy? Well, you can’t naturally develop a delight for knowledge of the Father like you can develop a palette for certain foods. Most of us like things now as an adult that we did not when we were kids – like broccoli. And I don’t ever remember asking the Father to help me like broccoli when I was a child so that my joy for foods would be complete; it was Cheryl’s cooking that increased my
taste for foods that I once spurned. If you and I are to have Jesus’ joy, which is the best joy in the world, then we must do what Jesus says. Are you ready? Do you want it? Do you want your delight sensors forever changed? Listen to Jesus again.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me, Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name, Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:20-24).
1. Jesus is teaching us that our joy will never be taken from us because Jesus will never be taken from us as his Spirit is sent and remains: You will never be alone again – ever!
2. Jesus is teaching us that our joy will be fulfilled when we ask God our Father for anything that magnifies Jesus (“in my name”). What are you asking God to do for you that will put Christ on display in your life? Your Father in heaven is more than willing to answer your prayers.
3. Jesus is teaching us that our joy in knowing his Father’s character is the best kind of joy. This is not hard to grasp since we see the Father’s divine character in creation. Look at the beauty in the Fall as the leaves change color, taste a freshly baked apple pie, feel the warmth of a fire on a chilly evening, smell the aroma of honey-suckle, or a pizza, and listen to Chopin or Jonny Lang if you like. The Father created all these joy-enhancing particulars with a word – what does that say about Him? The beauty in the world showcases the Father’s character. But nothing puts the Father’s character on display like the Son. To see Jesus, to delight in Jesus, is to see and know and enjoy the Father, now!
We are “in that day” right now that Jesus spoke of. That is, we are in the post-resurrection days of Jesus with the coming of the Holy Spirit and we have no need to ask him what his death and resurrection means for us since we have been given the Spirit to understand that our sins have been taken away in Christ. Believe that there is no deeper and satisfying joy than knowing the very God who sent his Son to rescue your life from sorrow – forever. This should make your day joyful!